Monday, July 31, 2006

Another John Cooke

I received an email this morning from John Cooke of Utah, USA

Hi John:

My name is john cooke too. It was interesting to find your site. I'd like to hear about you. Where you live, what you do, whatever.

I live in Utah, but I'm not Mormon. I am a student at the university. I have been married for 17 years and have 2 children.

I won't tell you any more in case you don't care.

Thanks. john

I do care I think its great to connect with other people its what the internet is all about, so thanks very much. I am thinking about adding a section to my website with a list of the other John Cooke's of the world, just for fun of course.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Into the frying pan

Been another restful sunday, laid in bed this morning hung over vaguly listening to the archers which my dad had on in the next room. Decided I should go for a swim and sauna to sort myself out. A short cycle thirty lengths and sit in the sauna and I certainly felt refreshed.
Good thing I took some exercise lunch was another bbq so tasty but I have eaten way too much meat for my own good this summer. The afternoon I whiled away reading some more of War and Peace, im three books in no and the story is starting to get more compelling, its still quiet hard going though. Tolstoy certainly likes to detail his characters.
This evening Bruce and I went to see sandbox at retro bar, Retro bar is as cheap as I remember from my student days they had 2 bottles of becks for 2.50 result! Walking downstairs to the basemaent venue reminded me of my time in the sauna. The basement was stupidly hot, your could literally fell a wall of heat as you went through the door. Its a testinment to the ban they managed to get through their set Andy told me afterwards he was sick thanks to the heat, not good at all. The set however was good dispite struggling for breath in between songs Lennie was on form the new songs sounded good (I think thye will be better with a little more maturing, 1 million marboros is a favorite of mine so was good to hear.
Managed to check up with Emily sounds like she is having a great time in London by the sounds of it the projects are interesting, randomly she is linving with someone who also did my course at UMIST there cant be more than 25 people a year that did it, what a small world. I wonder how I would feel if I worked for a prestigous technology company on ore interesting projects, probably my moral would be a lot higher. Good for her anyway, time for bed another day at the coal face tomorrow.

Saturday, July 29, 2006


Watched the first of Tros Colours series this evening, I had seen Red a few weeks ago and thought it be a beautiful one.
Blue is about liberty, Juile life is turned upside down when her husband and daughter are killed in a car crash, she withdraws from the world abandoning possession and people "Now I have only one thing left to do: nothing. I don't want any belongings, any memories. No friends, no love. Those are all traps."
The film is delightfully shot with lingering close ups on minute aspects of Julies life dipicting her withdrawing by concentrating on the little things in her life, when an old friend lover confronts her she is fixated by dipping a sugar cube into her coffee. Tinged through the film is a musical theme, her late husband was a composer and Julie is haunted by dreams of his final piece. Kriz shows we cannot escape reality as a series of characters old and new snap her out of her self imposed exile.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Superman Returns

Just got back from watching superman returns, I wasnt impressed. Aside from the great effects the story was second rate, there was way way too much psudeo chrstian imargery, just like in Spiderman too when Superman falls to earth he does so in the posture of crucifiction (in spiderman 2 spidy gets kind of crusified by a train). There is also a lot of emphasis on the workds spoken by Marlon Brando in the origonal superman about the only son being sent to earth...
I also didnt like the idea of the superman making moves on a married Lois Lane, dude you missed your chance dont mess with another guys wife.

Friday, July 21, 2006


Went to see Regina Spector last night at the Lowery, Salford Quays. It was a strange but excellent evening.
I had seen Regina first this January at the academy 3 since then she has released a new album and grown considerably in popularity. In the last couple of weeks Ive seen reviews in both the Telegraph magazine and Radio Times recommended by Phil Jupitus's column.
The concert in Janurary was one of the best I have ever been too she was totally captivating so as soon as I found out she was playing Manchester again I got tickets, so Did Phil, Bruce and Joe.
It was a strange set up for a concert all seating and sold out, except there seemed to be a lot of empty seats, no matter though Regina was on form, using keyboard guitar and even her own body as an instrument.
I really enjoyed the concert she is a lot better live than recorded, stripped down to her on her own she is just fantastic the album is a bit too over produced for my liking.
After the concert we went for an Indian at the excellent SPicy Hut Rusholme, all in all a very good evening.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Begin to Hope

Regina's new album arrived this morning after me ordering it last Friday, I still haven't got the tickets I ordered months ago though and the concert is Saturday. Ill ring them tomorrow. Being to Hope is a great album I think possibly better than Soviet kitsch though perhaps time will change my mind.
I had a weird day spent mostly debugging code, it was very difficult thankfully one of my colleges took pity and helped me make a start.
Spoke to Emily this evening, I think she is so brave moving to away from everything she knows to further her dreams I think she has made a great choice and I wish her luck I hope I would have he courage to do the same given the opportunity. She thinks I am sensible, just like my boss Martin and Wing perhaps its time i went crazy.
Went out for a drink with Martin, Phil Bruce and Si at the rectory, it was a nice evening a few drinks some chat and catching up on goings on.
On a negative note Charlotte was in A&E after hurthing her leg I dont know the details yet.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Diy Hell

Opps never ever try and do quick fix diy jobs on your heating late on a summers evening all kinds of bad things can go wrong.
This post has been kind of eaten by my web browser twice, hopefully Ill finish it this time.
Ian Came round this evening with Ben's laptop to fix whilst I was doing that I unleashed Ian on Half Life 2. About 10.30 my dad came in and asked if I could help him for a for minutes, I really wish I said no.
He had noticed a leaking pipe on the radiator in the hallway, so not wanting to leave it dripping onto the new floor in there his plan was to take off the radiator and cap the end. Unfortunatly because the pipes and joins were old and worn the bolt was tight we put a little too much force and the pipe deformed, next thing water is gushing out of the pipe the entire weight of the heating system pumping out disgusting dirty black water (which has been going about the system for 10 years). Within moments myself and dad were covered in dirty black crap and only a towl restricted the flow, the floor was flooding, I ran out grabbed the hose cut the end and rammed it over the pipe, then disconected the mains water supply so the heating system could drain. Ian left at the point and I called the only man who both knows about heating systems and owed me a favour, Martin.
It didnt take to much cooersion to get him to pop round with his tools, by which the system was drained. When he arrived we sliced the pipe, cleaned the end and fitted a compression fitting to the end.
Given how bad the system is and how hot the weather is we decided to turn the water back on let it fill up but leave the boiler off. My dad has called in some heating people and hopfully by the end of the month we will get a new system.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Post 200!!

Tragic as my life is that this milestone of post 200 is not a happy one. This weekend has been a trying one I spent Friday night and Saturday trying to do some work for the web project but I got bogged down just trying to get the system to work at all and ended up having an argument over the phone with one of my colleagues. In the end like any argument both of us have a point of view, and I have calmed down enough not to simply rant now. My problem is I am a trainee thrown into a situation way beyond any level of training or experience and I only get one day and my own time to improve this despite my best efforts sometimes I cant keep up. If people don't make allowances for others how can we move forward?
Today I just tried to chill out after yesterdays frustration I read some more of war and peace, relaxed in the garden went swimming had a bbq then went for a drink with Ian and Faye I feel a lot more relaxed now.
I've also talked Phil into lending me his old monitor so I have a bit more desktop real estate to play with which is nice. It's a 24inch crt behemoth so its kind of dominating my desktop but its a lot easier to use visual studio with more space.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Standard Life IPO

Standard Life was until Monday the UK largest Mutual Insurer, but for various reasons they went public. This affects me in several way my pension for what its worth is managed by standard life (though unfortunatly or fortunatly depending on your view on its not a with profits so I was able to vote and get free shares). I did however get to participate in the discounted share offer, in which I was able to buy shares at a reduced rate of 5 percent.
To me Standard Life is a solid buiness with plenty of assets and cash generation the shares are at a discount so the investment is a bit of a no brainer, especially after one year you get a bonus share for every 20 held equal to another 5 percent bonus excellent!
On another pensions related note I read on the back page of telegraph money that the salary sacrifice is the most tax effective way to save for retirement. Basically rather than paying out of my pay I opt to have my salary cut and the different that I am using with my company is the most tax effective way of saving excellent a few pennys less to the Government means more for my retirement hopefully.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

BBQ Nights

Tonight was an excellent evening, bbq at the brook house, Faye, Ian Nick Bec's Ben Nicks friends and myself turned out for a brook bbq. It was a typical affair Nick had organised the food and beer but had forgotten the bbq charcoal and lighter fluid, we ended up using my bbq and I had to go to the shops for charcoal (Jono was kind enough to give me a lift).
I ate too much and drank a lot of fosters but despite that I feel great I chatted laughed remembered old times, holidays nights out and the rest, its hard to put into words what made me feel good mostly the shared experiences partly just being with people I trust not having to be false or lie is a bonus.
Had a good chat with everyone didn&pos;t feel like an outsider which is great.
Started reading War and Peace I am hoping it will teach/remind me a bit more about history and its such a famous novel I would like to have read it. I also loved Tolstoy's Anna Karenina.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

What Type of girl?

Last night headed to the Thieves Neck with Nick Becky and Jono, the chat was focused mainly on relationships.

Becky had uncovered and removed Nicks P0rn stash causing him much embarrassment then annoyance, then more embarrassment when she reviled she had show them to her mother!

In typical style she started asking me about women, what my type? Well to be honest I am not sure I have a type I've fancied load of girls, blond brunette, brown skinned fair haired. I'm not currently seeing anyone nor is there anyone I am particularly interested in after wasting last year trying and failing to meet anyone nice on the Internet and not being the type of guy who can pull when I go out my opportunities are pretty limited.

However my friends are now increasingly couples, and they don't want me to be the third wheel so keep asking the questions. Martin and Charlotte are more blatant I don't think they actually want me around anymore unless I've got someone else in tow oh dear.

Trouble is no-one seems to want to know me, I get on well with the girlfriends of my friends but on meeting me people (girls) don't seem to be attracted. I've lost weight I even do my hair and make somewhat of an effort but it hasn't made much of a difference. I guess being an introverted depressive doesn't help oh well perhaps one day.

Monday, July 10, 2006


In and effort to cheer yself up found a cool linux xgl demo and live cd.

Then I saw this from Wired table of miscontents.


I feel depressed, even more than usual, got an email for Alison she is off for more adventure and I am still plodding along without a direction. Days like today at work make me wonder why I don't just buy a ticket and leave, anywhere would be better.

It's not that I have such a bad life its just I'm bored so bored I have done anything interesting in ages its just easy to be a clone another cog in the wheel.

I get home to my parents house and they are the same nothing changes they refuse to make even the slightest deviation I love them but they drag me into their malaise especially my dad he just has no ambition sometimes I feel like he actually goes out of his way to fail how can he have wasted so much talent? It's always excuses, and provocation, never action, I don't want to be like that.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

2 Films

Tonight decided to stay in and chill, I've spent a good portion of the day working on the web project I think I am getting a bit closer to being useful but who knows.

Rented a couple of videos from block buster, Serenity and Ghost in the Shell 2. Serenity is some sort of tie into firefly the aborted Joss Whedon project, it was really to my taste to be honest, too many American frontier euphemisms for my liking, the state versus the individual, good guys on the edge and all that I've seem it am million times in one guises or another, to me its a fallacy sold by the corporations of ones with power to distract us from the truth but that&apos ;s another story.

Ghost in the Shell 2 was immensely confusing, even as Japanese films go it was incomprehensible, at its base its a continuation of the original the major ghost has disappeared into the void leaving Batou alone and adrift. The entire plot revolves around a his investigation into murder perpetrated by guinoids (robots designed for sexual pleasure) during his investigation he begins to question his sanity and the increasingly blurry line between human's and machines consciousness reality and dreams. There are all sorts of great quotes and dialogue but its very hard to follow and the plot is paper thin.

Trout fishing

Ian called me and arranged to go out on a Friday night! It seems now he no longer works at TGI he has a bit more time to spend with his friends which is excellent.
A few hours later he and I were sat in the beer garden of the John Millington, he was enjoying a beer but I decided to drive seeing as I have had a stomach bug the last few days.
We had a chat about business, life and how great outdoor heaters are even if they are causing global warming. A little later Phil joined us for more merriment, talking about Akido, life the universe and everything. We were getting ready to make tracks about 11.15 when two women started loitering around the table after asking for a light and being given a box of Zanshin matches they started chatting well I say chatting taking the piss would be more accurate unfortunately they were too stupid or drunk to realise we were doing the same.
Next we missioned to the Kennelworth to join the TGI crew after work, straight away I didn't like one of the guys with them he was a totally arrogant bastard. Phil was getting progressively more smashed on Jim Bean and Ian was chatting to faye on the plus side one of the Fridays girls Amanda was particularly attractive so at least I had somewhere to rest my eyes ;)
After kicking out time Faye Ian Phil and Myself headed to the Spicy Hut for a curry, and more chat it was fun except on the way out Ian moaning about his foot! I am sure it wasn't too bad mate you seemed to be walking alright to me :P

Thursday, July 06, 2006

This is how it works

I've just ben listening to Regina Spektors brnad new single on the radio, its really good though I still prefer the current tracks fidelity on her myspace. I love the verse "you peer inside yourself and take the things you like".
Today was a weird one at work, this morning I got to go to a project meeting regarding our competitors web project, I have never attended that sort of high level meeting before, to be honest I felt out of place not least because I have had some sort of stomach bug the last couple of days. In the end nothing much happened I think we will be ready to show something much more advanced on when our time comes.
Watched a Russian film last night called Lylia 4 Ever about a young girl growing up on the ex Soviet Republic who after she abandoned by her mother falls into a spiral of drugs sex and eventually prostitution and the freedom of death. It was very depressing but well filmed, you felt sorry for Lylia but powerless to helpthe poverty, the hatred felt real I wonder how far away from that sort of life some people in the UK are.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Summer Evenings

After spending yet another frustrating day working from home, most of it on the phone explaining how to get things working I needed a relaxing evening. Fortunatly Bruce Nick Becky and Jono felt the same way so we headed down to the Davenport Arms for a couple of drinks and to catch the end of the Germany Italy game, which Italy won in style.
It was nice to sat outside the primised storm never appeared so it was hot and sticky, Becky and Nick seemed well she was teasing him about marrage and other things as usual, Jono offered them a tent to go camping in her response was a polite no then a kick in the ribs to Nick.
Bruce was in a good mood, havent seen him very frequently recently thanks to nights out, Ninaing and his cousins wedding.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Last Train Home (Never fall in love again)

Tonight after a hot and sticky day at work, it was a very hot and raucous concert at the Apollo Manchester. Joining a full house Phil and I went to see the Lost Prophets. They are a pretty hard rock band interspersing quiet slow pieces with loud fast rock, they played a really good set a lot of songs of the new album (which I don't have yet but ordering now) interspersed with their old classics my personal favourite were last train home and last summer.

I didn't realise but a large part of their fanbase seemed to be teenage girls which made me feel a bit like an ageing rocker surrounded by young women. It was fun event, the band really got the crowd going. The whole place screaming along to the songs, my ears are really ringing. Thanks to them being young girls they were shorter than me, a rarity at gigs so I could actually see really well bonus!

During the last song the crowd went mental a huge human whirlpool dragging more and more people in front of us into a human vortex, were were all drenched the high temperature coupled with lots of people jumping around really made the temperature soar. I am horse thanks to shouting I ache and I am tired but it was worth it, I had a great night though.

I've actually got this post finished there are currently two sat in the drafts folder and a load of pictures I need to upload, hopefully Ill find time soon, but I have been out a lot this weekend,
Rock on!

More Bbqs and leaving dos

I felt a bit rough this morning after the excesses of last night it had been a good one though. I woke up this morning sweating alcohol, not good I had a breakfast and sat and read the paper drinking some orange juice think that sorted me out a bit so stupidly i decided to go to the gym, I dont think I have ever been so hot and sweaty I felt like I was going to collapse by the time i finished. One of the big beefy bastard asked me to spot him whilst he lifted, felt like a proper gym goer.
This afternoon there was a bbq at Andy's house, in celebration of Andy's birthday tomorrow, Emiliy's leaving to work in London (and also the birthday of Emily's friend Kay).
Ian, Faye Paul and Danny turned up all hung over stayed long enough for a chat a few sausages cooked by Will (he wouldn't let anyone else near the BBQ, though he did a reasonable job).
I spent the day there, chatting to Kay, Andy, Emily, Will Lennie and the others. I did try and avoid Dan a rather odd looking chap in a dog collar apparently he is Kay's housemate, I think I would move out.
There were some funny moments watching Andy run around with his silly string gun spraying (silly string) all over the place. Laughing out loud as Lauren punctured a can of WD40 with a dart, Lennie managed to get it out of the house and Andy has to stand outside with WD40 pissing out all over the place.
After the first wave of bbqing there was a massive electrical storm we had been able to feel it building since I arrived the sky darkened and a few drops of rain fell so I was treated to the spectacle of Ian, Emily, Will and Danny putting up a gazebo talk about too many chiefs!
When the rain came it was incredible, the volume of rain thunder and lightning was simply ferocious, the temperature dropped from 27 to 19 in les than 30 minutes lights flicked and we covered inside as the thunder and lightning rolled through.
A late arrival Chris said the lights went out in the Trafford Centre, he said "I wish I had thought on and shouted loot loot!".
After a couple of hours the storm slackened off enough for us to resume BBQ activities under the cover of the gazebo, Will immediately go cooking the burgers, essencial bbq food sadly missing from the menu upto this point.
About 9.30 I started to fade away fast and people were either drunk or on the way so I made my excuses bid a fond farewell to Em and set off home, I pondered on the drive home whether I can really fit in with all the arty types I had found it hard sometimes to feel part of the group but then thats just me I guess.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Wollers Housewarming

After the nightmare that was watching England lose, I was feeling tired a little tipsy and hungry but I didn't have much time to spare Phil and I whizzed back to Woodford, a bbq shower and changes of clothes later and we were on our way to Woller's new pad in Smacclesfield.
We got a little lost on route then finally found the place near the old underage drinking ground from the days of hanging out in Hannah and Laura's Barn the Flowerpot Pub. It's a pretty smart house. A nice new build terrace compact but functional. Ian, Faye, Woller and Paul were out it was a nice group just achieving the critical mass needed to have a good time.
After a quick beer in the Flowerpot it was onto downtown Macclesfield for more drinking and fun I took some Picutures.
We started at the Whetherspoons, and then moved onto the Lounge (I think was already a bit drunk). I think the Lounge was my favourite bar sat outside chatting in the cool evening air, unfortunately they made us come inside (it was dead inside) so we headed out to Chicago Rock.
Chicago Rock really isn't my favourite place cheesy music especially when a lot of drunk people are dancing to it, is a but much for me.
So we grabbed some drinks (eventually the bar service is terrible)m grabbed the chairs and carried on enjoying ourselves. I think the funniest moment for me was having a random girl come over and start chatting to me. I didn't hear her name properly thanks to my inebriation, and the loud music. I do remember she said she was an artist from Salford, who works for Areghi Bianchi. Regardless it transpired it wasn't me she was interested in chatting up but Ian's girlfriend Faye!!

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Penalties AGAIN!!!!

Now I have never been much of a football fan, but I am a patriot and I do love to see the three lions roar to victory.
The last two England games I have watched with Jo, Holly and Phil, today we went the the queen of hearts in fallowfield (what a blast from the past). They had a plasma screen outside, it was very sunny and we sat outside on the stone floor cheering on England. It was a good match the players really showed some heart after a lackluster (but successful) campaign.
It was a pretty tense close affair not much seperating the teams unfortunatlly the Argentinian ref choose to dislike England and made a few harsh desisions. I wont go over the details I am sure so many people will tell the story in a more passionate way than I can, but in the end dispite playing 50 minutes a man down in another emtional penalty shootout England were knocked out of the world cup.
I really got into weatching the game which is rpetty rare for me I usually love the rugby but the crowd at the pub dragged me into the spiret and dispite the result it was a good match to watch a rollercoaster of emotion.
Hope that one day we can win something give us our national pride back.