Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Let Me Know

Life is hectic at the moment, thanks to working on the weekend I started the week feeling frazzled, my shoulder still hurts and I felt terrible this morning. Work is very very stressful the workload is simply gigantic and everyones feeling a little pressured. I think its worse for me because I am not a real employee.

After work I headed to Japanese class with Phil. We had a weeks break because of the half term holiday. Adding to my hassles over the last week has been Jo's PC. I built him a PC last week and due to its modernity and some of his requirements. Its taken myself and Phil both a not inconsiderable amount of time to get it running. At the start of class both myself and Phil got some phone calls. Class was very difficult for me I was tired and out of my depth, I think I did learn a few phrases though.

After class we both went to go fix up Jo pc we left it all working hopefully he is going to be happy, it is an excellent pc but the whole process has been a nightmare. I spent hours getting the bits, building the pc fault finding installing software. Phil has also spent time on it. Considering I did this as a favor and its proved to be such a nightmare its made me decide never to build a pc for anyone other than myself again.

Apart from Jo someone else called me while I was in Japanese class, Lisa. She sounded a little fraught, I hope everything is OK with her. I might try and give her a ring back tomorrow. Olya sent me some photos today, she is looking beautiful but I have no real idea why she wants to keep in contact, just to tease me perhaps. I had just about started to forget her.

Fortunately I have a few things to look forward to, chief among them is the Foo Fighters concert on Saturday. Unfortunately Ian' has had to drop out due to work commitments it would have been good to catch up with him. Its going to e interesting to meet Brie Nick's new interest though.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Suicide pact : you first

My Sunday was nice and relaxed. After a hectic week including yesterdays action it was nice to chill out a little. I rested read a few chapters of my book, listened to the Archers, and cleaned out the fish. Usually I would have headed to the gym but my shoulder is still painful so I stayed in and tried to start moving a few customers cross to the new server. I only managed to move two sites in the end but it was a start. I also managed to sort out at least some of the weird email problems I have been having, well that my customers were having. Andy Gilmore can now relay mail, and www.woodlandsgarage.com is now on the new server complete with redirect.

I also made and effort to try and catch hold of a few friends for a catch up chat, I caught up with Paul, and Jo. Jo was happy to hear his PC is ready for collection. Paul was in a good mood he recounted Paul McCartney, Pippa managed to arrange him a last minute ticket. I was really jealous! Was nice to catch up with them I really must be more proactive at keeping in contact with people.

I watched a weird little indie film with Phil this evening. It was called theThe Chumscrubber. Basically focussing on the interconnected lives of a group of people from the suburbs. Everyone pretends their lives are great whilst chugging down wine or pills in a vain attempt to stay sane. There is a bizarre (and frankly disconnected) parallel video game intermingled with the action.

Goodbye Mr A

Apologies for the verbose nature of this post but it has been a long day! This morning [Saturday] I arrived at work at 6am in order to do an upgrade before the call centre opened at 8.30. Fortunately things went verywell, meaning I was able to get away for about 10. The was especially fortunate as I had promised to help install his new server in the data centre.

He was in a rush, wanting to finish the server set-up in order to get to an Akido event, unfortunately things took rather longer than we planned. I protect the servers with a Cisco Pix firewall, it was an pretty expensive piece of kit but unfortunately Cisco don't do updates unless you pay for a very expensive support contract. Fortunately between us we managed to backdate Java and get on to munge the configuration. Before we left we had a running web cast demo, which puts us well ahead of schedule.

After the data centre Phil and I headed back to his place to fix up Berger's PC. He missed his session, so we used our time productively. After much searching and fiddling we found two problems, firstly the memory liked to be run at a higher voltage. For some reasons the default 1.8v isn't enough to drive it that explains the random not turning on. The double boot problem was solved by a beta bios. It now not only works but is incredibly fast.

Phil's parents treated us to a curry at the Sangam III. The food was excellent, and I very much enjoyed myself. After the curry I headed to Poynton to meet up with Martin, Endo, Adam and Simon for a drink while Phil disappeared off to a leaving do for one of his Akido pals.

I managed to cadge a lift both ways, my dad took me to Poynton and Simon gave me a lift home, what nice chaps. It was a very funny evening nice to catch up with everyone again. Everyone was on form and happy it was a really fun evening. We mostly chatted caught up, Martin and Simon had a very funny exchange about clothes, Martin was laughing at Simon's G-Star jeans and Simon was laughing at Martin's lack of taste.
Mark looking amused
Simon and Adam

Monday, October 22, 2007

Sandbox @ In the city

I had a pretty frustrating day today. Despite having a day off work, thanks to being owed some time in lieu, things didnt really go to plan.

I bought the bits to build a new PC for Jo, unfortunately I am having problems. I think the motherboard might be faulty, sometimes it works sometimes not. Its really annoying when brand new gear dosnt work correctly especially as I bought it on my credit card :S
I spent the afternoon trying in vain to make the computer work so failed to go to the gym again :( I did manage to go jogging yesterday but its not enough really.

Tonight was fortunately a lot more fun than today though. Phil and I went to see Sandbox playing at the in the city gig. They were excellent, I especially like the new funky version of Light Blue, and 1 million Marlboro Lights. Ian also tagged along it was good to see him, its been a while. He enjoyed the gig and was in a pretty good mood, apparently he has a job n Barcelona, lucky guy! Talking of Barcelona, there is much talk of a boys trip there next year. I have never been on a "lads" holiday before but I expect much beer leeriness. Barcelona is an excellent city though, really vibrant and exciting should be great.
None of the other bands really set the world on fire but it was nice having a chat and hanging out, took my mind of Bergers non working PC for a while. Emily told me about her second life project, and about teaching. Kay battered my head about elder people. I left about 11 my ears could not take any more, and eveyrone was tired or hungry. Sandbox plus Emily and Kay went for Chinese Phil and I headed home.

I am also having issues with an ispcp configuration problem I need to get one domain to forward to another but unfortunately ispcp lacks the level of documentation to explain to a user like me how to do it. I posted on the message board but got the usual frustrating just do X are you an idiot reply. The thing is I am not an idiot just inexperienced in using this product, but I don't have the time of inclination to go rooting through the code just to do something trivial which could / should be documented.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Fish Care

Since one of my fish died I have been taking measure to try and improve things for the remaining two.
I cleaned the water but it didn't seem to help much. So I got out my chemistry kit and did some analysis. I found that the nitrate level was too high over 80ppm. I changed the water 4 changes worth for two days and expected it to have a noticeable impact on the levels. My dad came up with a method of working out the number of water changes needed to reduce the levels, it turned out to be a LOT more than I thought. I have made a little a on-line calculator.

You can only change 10% of the water in a fish tank in a day, and you have to ensure the water going in has the chlorine removed, either by using an additive or leaving it to stand for a few hours.

Continuing the web design theme this evening I worked on something trying to get media streaming work for an upcoming job. It was pretty tedious but we eventually got to the bottom of it. Only one more piece of the puzzle and a bit of site design to go. I think its should be a pretty slick operation once we are done.

Faust Arp

Spent today tidying my room, I managed to get rid of some rubbish, and a lot of dirt. I wish I could do so more often, my parents are terrible hoarders. To a certain extent I have inherited that triat. I didn't really have much to do everything was about the build up to the big rugby match.

I went round to Jo's house to watch the match. It wasn't the most inspiring game I have ever seen. After being built up all week this was a war of attrition far from the 36-0 romp England played well in a very physical game. Unfortunately they were unable to push their territorial advantage and gave away a lot of stupid penalties a couple right in front of the posts. I supposes its ironic that England lost to a side who kicked the ball from the spot, so often England's fortes.

I feel really cut up the team played well, and I don't even want to talk about the denied try. I ate too much tonight, its why I will never be thin if there is food in front of my I just cannot help but eat it. Jo made some really tasty nachos with salsa and cheese, so nice but so fattening, sigh :(

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Second life

I opened the Telegraph this morning and on the front of the property section had a most revealing article about the world of the second life. For those not in the know second life is a virtual world, not really a game more a in which you can live, own property. I always thought it was about sex people living out their lives vicariously or attacking journalist with flying penis.. However increasingly it seems that people are living out there lives even making a living from Second Life.

The article in the telegraph was talking about Prim Perfect a magazine showcasing some of the more imaginative the houses in Second Life. I knew Second Life was big when I started to read about companies and country opening up shop there. Such as Reuters opening a office in second life. Though part of what I found funny in that was the Reuters reporter imitating Jennifer Government and taking the name of his company in the virtual world.

I suppose virtual worlds give creative people a canvas to create, whether it be objects, or art and others who want to surround themselves with nice things. Perhaps things they can buy only in a virtual world. I think I might be somewhat behind the curb I was going to create a character for the screening of Four Eyed Monsters in Second Life, then for the technology expo. Maybe Ill open up a shop, I just need to think of an angle ;)

TV Envy

After a long and tedious day spent trying to understand how qcb blocks work, I felt worn down. Not too worn down that I didn't want to kill some zombies though. After dinner I jumped onto Resident Evil 4 Wii and blow the heads off a few more zombies. I managed to get my pc running again as well looks like a lose cable (I took the side of and disconnected and reconnected everything and fortunately it came back to life).

After a zombie massacre I spoke to Phil and ended up at his house. He has just bought a new TV; A 46 inch beast, capable of a stunning 1080p . It is a pretty huge screen, a whole 6 inches bigger than Bruce's (which I already thought of as massive).
We hooked up Bruce's Playstation 3 and tried out "Resistance: Fall of Man". It looked beautiful in high definition glory on this screen. The game play is a very similar to Quake 4 or Halo (from which many aspects are borrowed).

I totally want one but something that size wouldn't even fit into my house. I wonder if we can watch the world cup there tomorrow...

Thursday, October 18, 2007


I spoke to Paul yesterday the planned outing to catch McCartney to in Paris is off. Instead of putting the tickets on sale he has decided to sell them only on the day in Paris. So it would mean traveling there on the hope of getting them, and its a smallish venue so not good odds. I could have done with some time off to be honest this week seem to be going on forever, having a really problematic upgrade. I have been in meetings and conference calls and yet we still seem to be hitting brick walls.

I am actually in a foul mood at the moment, my pc has developed a fault hanging on the bios screen, it only a few months old and wasnt in any way cheap, I was also in the middle of doing a web page about fish care when it froze. I rebooted and nothing, very frustrating. Fortunately my laptop is still going.

Prior to my computer expiring I had been in the middle of writing up a piece about dealing with the fish. Including a little calculator to wrk out how much water to change. My remaining fish is just about hanging on, today my dad bought went to the aquarium centre and bought some treatment for common fish problems, and some different food to try. He didn' seem very interested though. I am really worried the water quality has improved nitrate is down from over 80ppm to around 20ppm so I had hoped to see an improvement, nothing tangible yet though.

I have had a pretty rubbish evening, no-one was about and I felt to tired for the gym, so I came home and killed some zombies on Resident Evil 4. At least until a big one got the better of me. I tried to cheer up the fish but he wasnt any better, then my pc died and I got very angry, apoplectic really.

At least is nearly the weekend, not that i have anything special planned in fact with it being the week before payday I am pretty skint, Paris was definitely going to be a credit card job so in some ways its good I am not going. I kind of promised o I would build him a replacement PC it looks like I might have two to do now, I think I should leave my credit card at home when I go.

Monday, October 15, 2007


My friend Kasia sent me the following poem Desiderata. It's about attaining happiness in life I thought it is quiet nice.

Go placidly amid the noise and haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible without surrender
be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
and listen to others,
even the dull and the ignorant;
they too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons,
they are vexations to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain and bitter;
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.

Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs;
for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals;
and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself.
Especially, do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love;
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself.

You are a child of the universe,
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive Him to be,
and whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful.
Strive to be happy.

- Max Ehrmann, Indiana

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Our Velocity

Yesterday in between the 4 times daily changing of the fish tank water, I attempted to get into the data centre and do a backup. Unfortunately some one locked the rack and I still dont have a key. Instead I met up with Phl and had a look at doing his video streaming service. I think its fairly straight forward not too many wrinkles.

Last night I went round to Bruce and Nina's place to watch England versus France in the Rugby world cup semi final. Joe, Holly and Phil were also present.
Nina and Bruce put on a really good spread cooking lasagne potatoes and lots of garlic bread. I actually severely regretted the garlic bread today at the gym, after my workout I was sweating garlic. That aside the food was great and the company most enjoyable.

We sat and watched the rugby, England played pretty well and after a tense and exciting 80 minutes just about came out on top. I was pretty impressed and elated to beat the French in the Stade De France in the World cup semi finals is incredible. Roll on South Africa next week!

After last nights fun today was a little flat, a visit to the gym then the afternoon spent trying to sort out a problem on the server. I learned a lot about Iscpc but I would rather it not have been so pressured.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Chemistry is fun

I haven't done much this evening. After I got back from the gym no one was really about so I stayed home chatting to people on-line and relaxing.

Since my fish died I have learned a lot about water chemistry. I learned that fish, food and plants decay into ammonia, nitrite and nitrates. High levels of Ammonia or nitrite kill fish pretty quickly. Nitrate level on the other hand don't kill immediately they just put stress on the fish. My fish tank nitrate level has been high for some time (I know this because my research has informed my large amount of algae are a sign of high nitrate levels).
Unfortunately for me nitrates are one of the most difficult pollutants to remove, all I can do is change 10% (36 litres) of the water in the tank per day and hope that they are diluted. So over the last few days I have done 4 water changes a day very tedious and time consuming. So far the level dropped from over 60ppm (parts per million) to 40ppm, I need to bring it below 20ppm for the biological agents to be effective. Look like I have plenty more water changes to go.

Tomorrow is the England France game which should be excellent and I think is going to be very close.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Photos from Belgium

I finally got the photos from Belgium uploaded. I still haven't written the stories up maybe I never will now, who knows.

This evening I went to see a film with my friend Martina from Japanese class. We watch 3:10 to Yuma. Starring Christian Bale and Russell Crowe its a pretty standard cowboy film, encompassing all the traditional American values; redemption, good men turning bad, bad men doing good. Russell Crowe is the typical child from a troubled family turned to a life of crime, blah blah heard it all before.
I was actually pretty disappointed I expected a little more than a slight twist on the buddy film, but oh well.

Bruce has invited me to his house on Saturday, apparently he will be screening the rugby on his big screen. It sounds fun but means I have to miss what could turn out to be a fun party in Didsbury. I really do not want to miss the England game after last Saturdays performance though. I think the game against France is going to be pretty tough close and exciting so I am looking forward to it.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

In Rainbows

This week isn't a good one for my pets. on Monday one of my fishes expired and today I just received the following from my dad.
"Just to let you know that Sootie has been put to sleep humanely on the advice of the vet.

She said that death was imminent, and as she put it, "The cat was ready to die".

A sorry day, but at least its misery is over."

Its really sad for me, my fish John was the first pet totally my charge, I have been looking after him for about 7 years now, its so sad watching Ozzie swimming around on his own.

My cat was 20 years old a very ripe old age for a cat, he has outlived all predictions thanks to a lot of TLC from my parents regular vet visits and a special low protein diet. We were told that once he started having regular steroid injections that he wouldn't live more than 2 years, at was over 4 years ago. HE had a long life, I remember when I was at primary school watching him chase table tennis balls around the house. He sent so many hours sat on the sofa or by the fire, or sunbathing in the garden he had a pretty good life for a cat.

The house won't be the same without him around, crying for food or attention. I am listening to the latest Radiohead album sat working on some documentation in an empty office, and feeling very sad.

Monday, October 08, 2007


Had a pretty quiet day today finished closing time I found it a really good book but not a patch on Catch-22 and a heck of a lot harder to read. Basically the characters young and vibrant but dealing with lives cut short now deal with lives close to the end, and the absurdities of modern life. Heller is so witty and intelligent almost too clever by half at times writing some incredibly complicated prose.

Phil and I spent some time practising our Japanese we are both pretty shabby but a few more hours a week sure would help.

Paul phoned me he has a plan about going to see Paul McCartney live in Paris later this month. To be honest it sounds like a lot of fun hopefully we can get tickets and I can get the time of work because I reckon it will be great.

Tonight Phil and I watched Zodiac, a film by David Fincher he of Fight Club and Panic Room fame about the infamous serial killer Zodiac. It was kind of ironic I never realised Dirty Harry (which I watched only last night) was based partly on the story. The real life killer was never caught despite the best efforts of the police and an ex cartoonist who penned a novel about him. The film was good if a little long and drawn out, the cinematography was excellent I especially like the grand theft autoesq top down view of the police car.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Last night was the work quiz night, I joined the IT team. Despite not knowing what the Ford Mustang logo was we managed to come in second place.
Afterwards we went for drinks in Wilmslow, I drank too much and felt horrible this morning. I think I might have made a bit of a fool of myself getting far too drunk and acting like a loon, hopefully not but hey ho.

Unusually for me I spent most of the day watching Sports. England played Australia in the quarter finals of the rugby world cup. I pretty much expected it to be a total drubbing by Australia but instead England stepped upto the plate and played a darn sight better rugby than I have seen from them for a long time. The forward pack were particularly strong. It was a shame to win on penalties alone but our backs just dont seem to have the presence and play makers to break through.

In the evening France managed a similar trick and overcame the all blacks in an sensational game at the Millennium stadium. It will certainly be an interesting game next week with England versus France.

To cap the day off Khan put on a dominating display in the boxing :)

Friday, October 05, 2007

No Tommorrow

Today was a hard day, I had a rather combative conference call regarding one project I am working on. I found it very difficult, sometimes being nice and bending over backwards goes nowhere.

This evening I went for a drink with Phil, Bruce, and Nina. Firstly Phil and I took a trip round to Bruce and Nina's abode. It has changed somewhat beyond recognition since I was last there. There is a floor and decoration, and technology lots of technology.

We went out for drinks at the local pub the March Hare, chatting about work and life we laid the world to rights. Mostly we talk about work these days all our lives are dominated by it in one way or another.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Free WiFi

Fon have announced a new partnership with BT which should exponentially increase the number of FON spots available to anyone willing to share their broadband.

I have had a FON spot for quiet a while now, in fact my Nintendo Wii connects to the internet through it.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

An Honest Mistake

I was talking to one of my good online friends this evening, she sometimes reads my blog, and I have told her that I like to write. She thinks I should sign up to http://www.nanowrimo.org/ and attempt to write a novel in a month. I am not sure I have the skill, determination or ideas but I guess its only a bit of fun so I might give it a go I just need to think of some inspirational ideas.

A long time ago I started a screenplay with Paul, we never got far our concentrations drifted off in different directions. I had some good idea around it, but maybe I should try something different out. I shall ruminate see if inspiration strikes. The competition dosn't start until the 1st November so there are a few weeks to get ideas together.

We were also talking about films and both love Pulp Fiction. I hadn't realised how old it was, released in 1994. I remember so vividly watching it at and taking about it sat in C block, Bramhall High School with Alistair Roy, Andy and all the other people I thing about with in my schoolboy days. Its kind of strange how memories work, sometimes I don't remember where I just put down my pen, but somehow I can picture scenes from years ago so precisely its almost as if I were still sat there, the people the jokes.

Today's post is sponsored by Nintendo please use the link below an dsign up for club Nintendo so I can afford to download Street Fighter 2 and relive my youth ;)

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Speed of sound

I was far too tired after Japanese class to start writing up my Belgium adventures. Well either that or I am not ready to share them yet. I did manage to order a copy of the new Radiohead album which I am now very excited to receive.
I also managed to get a quick last orders drink with Bruce, he seemed in a very good mood and apparently his house is very nearly finished. We went for a quick drink at the Thieves. He was also telling me he has signed up to Virgin 20mb broadband and bought a Playstation 3. Honestly I can't imagine why you would want to spend so much money on a console with next to no games, so It plays blue ray disks does he really want to pay twice the price of DVD for each disk? He must be getting paid far too much (read more than me ;-) to be able afford all the work on his his and such expensive toys. Sour grapes I suppose, I can even imagine affording a house, then again I have never come into money from relatives, not am I likely to, I have to fend for myself.
Talking of fending for myself my mother is so convinced I cant take care of myself she has taken the rather ridicules step of taking a sabbatical rather than let me lend my car to my dad so had can drive to Derby while I use the bus / train. It seriously pisses me off that she has such a low opinion of me, and has made me more determined to get out of here.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Monster Hospital

I have been away for the last few days in Belgium, I got back earlier today. I was a really good trip and I shall be writing about it soon, there are also going to be some pictures on the gallery, but not tonight. I feel very tired and I am back to the grindstone tomorrow.

Today is my fathers birthday, he is 60. For a milestone but he dos't seem to be much interested. After some consternation about where to go (I definitely inherited his indecisiveness) and headed for the Il Pomodoro in Poynton.

I haven't been to this Italian restaurant in several years, it has a changed a little except for a coat of paint and having an extension into what what the ice cream shop to provide more frontage. It wasn't much needed tonight thought the place was nearly empty. We ordered to mix plate starters, garlic bread and a salad to share. The Pomodoro platter had some Parma ham, fish, olives, sun dried tomatoes, mozzarella and Italian sausage. The garlic bread was about 50% the size I remember it from last time, but still tasty. My parents also enjoyed it, mum had the salad to herself and let us eat the contents of the platter. For my main course I had a pasta with spicy Italian sausage and tomatoes sauce, it was very tasty, mum found her Penn a little salty but my father enjoyed his Carbonara. It was a nice meal, I couldn't really fault the quality of the food and the service was good. The prices certainly arn't cheap especially drinks £3.95 for a pint.

Hopefully providing Japanese class dosn't kill me I will start putting up some photos and writing some stories from Antwerp tomorrow., for now night.