Sunday, December 28, 2008

Val D'isere Arrival

Saturday morning I arrived at the Airport in Phil's Mondeo, my dad drove us borrowing as my Focus is too small for the task. We had to get there early, about 5am. We anticipated that the queues would be as bad as last year with queues round the block.

Despite the spare queues the flight was delayed on the tarmack for an hour as our slot was missed. I barley noticed falling rapidly asleep, waking up somewhere over France to a rather disgusting breakfast I was very glad I ate at the airport, in spite of the ruinous prices. I forgot about the food soon enough though, I had a window seat from which I was able to see the winter wonderland exposed below. I could see the snow was awesome. Not so awesome though was the layer of fog covering the valley in which apparently Chambery airport lived. As the aeroplane dropped into the fog on the landing approach I honestly struggled to see the tip of the wing, no idea what the Pilot could see! The landing was aborted but instead of diverting to another airport the pilot (who sounded quiet pleased to have some diversion to his routine) said we would follow a holding pattern burn off some fuel and therefore weight meaning we could go in lower before needing to about. After another 45-50 minutes circling the fog had lifted a little and we were lighter so in we went. Once we got below a certain level the fog was clear and we were able to land. As the runway approached people started to clap, they stopped pretty quickly as the plane hit the deck and started to slide. We were the only aircraft to land that day so the runway was a little icy and the plain skidded a little. My philosophy is "any one you can walk away from" is a good landing. The airport itself was pretty small and chocking with people trying to get home. Fortunately that didn't bother us :)

It took a couple of hours on a coach some of which we travelled alone in our own private coach, because of the delays. We were the first people in the Chalet Joined later by a many others, in total 14 though not everyone made it on the first day. The evening conversation hardly boded well for the week. Phil and I made friend with a nice couple from Essex though and found that the nearest bar was also one of the cheapest :)

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Skiing is fun :)

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Monday, December 15, 2008


I spent most of the weekend suffering from a bad cold (yes the dreaded man flu), I even missed Sandbox's Christmas gig. I was really gutted not to miss it but I felt terrible basically laid in be d with a fever.

A light in the darkness was that Phil invited me on another skiing trip this time to Val V'Isere. Which is completely awesome after a bit of scrabbling around to get the holiday I agreed and next Saturday I'll be skiing in one of the best resorts in the world, I cant wait. So great of them to invite me, not sure what I have done to deserve it.

Sunday I was finally feeling a bit better I spent the day surfing the net and catching up with Lost.

In the evening I met up with Nick, we rented a film from Blockbuster. There wasn't a lot of choice so we renter a film called Donkey Punch. It was an awful slasher film, Nick had to leave the room due to the gore. The only good point was there early sounds track especially the remix of The Knife Heartbeat which was simply awesome.

Nick gave me a lift home and just as I got out of the car I felt my phone vibrating in my pocket. It was work, they had a major disaster as somehow all of the system had been lost. Que a frantic night of myself and two of the support guys sat in an empty office trying our best to get something working before everyone turned into work the next day.

Somehow we managed to lash a system together, it worked, despite a few little teething problems. I was surprised what we achieved. By lunch time I had worked for so long and had so little sleep I was making more mistakes than good work so I left.

I went home ate and had a powersnooze. I couldn't sleep for long after which I went for a jog. I called into y house to check out Nicks work, I was quiet impressed a lot of the skirting boards are on and the architraves it starting to look like a house. I got a call from Danny while I was driving. It was a bit of a blast from the past I haven't spoken to the guy in months, he is plotting a night out on the 23rd. It sounded really good unfortunately I'll be in France by then so I had to give it s miss which is a shame as its sure to be a fun evening.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Migrating user Linux accounts

I just had to move some user accounts from server to server. I found this good guide on how to do so.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008


Sunday I woke up late, feeling awful. A mixture of depression and hangover. I headed round to Nicks to discuss a website he would like some help with. He is working with Gilly, they have some really good ideas. We got a lot of ideas down on paper now I just have to turn them into a site.

After that we went round for a buffet at Bruces house, we watched Nina and him open their wedding gifts and saw the main protagonists from the wedding.

I had Monday as holiday so I went to do a little work on my house. It was a frustrating day I only managed to get a couple of sockets in. I have started on the upstairs ring, like downstairs it needs mostly complete replacement.

Back to work today, getting things ready for an early morning upgrade tomorrow. I met Sarah for lunch today, its the first time I have seen her since I found out she was pregnant. She is getting big now but looking radiant, I can't imagine having kids. Buying a house was a huge step for me, one that has become a dominant force in my life, basically starting to change everything about the way I live.. It was a very pleasant lunch time excursion, I had missed our little tête-à-têtes.

I missed Japanese class thanks to a last minute crisis. Now I have a major sore throat, don't really feel up to a 5.30 am start tomorrow. I don't know whether I should continue Japan was such a great country but I find it hard to make time to study and I haven't progressed very far, I am not sure if it is worth continuing, a choice for tomorrow.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

If the world

Friday was Martina's birthday. She had arranged a party at her house. Despite it being the day before the big wedding it was a special birthday for her so Phil and I went to see what was going on. I had the day off so I stopped into John Lewis to get a gift and a couple of other bits. I got Martina a mickey mouse mp3 player, in Pink. She had seen it the other day and commented on how cute she thought it was so I decided it would make a nice present. I think that she liked it judging by the reaction when I handed it over.

There was loads of food at the party Neil and his friend were there as was Damian and Etienne and a few others. Phil and I promised to meet Bruce for a drink so we couldn't stay for too long. We went for a drink at the March Hair, it was a relaxed affair just a couple of drinks and a bit of banter.

Yesterday was Bruce's wedding it was a great day. Phil picked me up early before 10, the internet guide on cravat tying didn&39;t really show me what I needed fortunately Philip's mum helped me out. Bruce looked pretty tired when we picked him up. We arrived at the Church before 10.30 in time to meet the florist.

The rest of the guests started rolling after 11.20 and by 12 we were sat waiting for Nina. Bruce was tense starting straight ahead the service was nice the priest ran through the ceremony. You could tell Nina side of the family were the more avid church goers. During the ceremony there was a moment I thought that Bruce was not going to say the all important "I will". He was so nervous the pause was just a little pregnant, fortunately with a little prompting from the priest he continued. The rest of the ceremony went well except for Bruce stepping on Nina dress, nearly sending her for a tumble, and Nina losing her garter, though not many people noticed that.

After the ceremony there were many many photos to be taken. Phils parents hopped it to the bar and left Phil and I to make our own way to the dinner venue. We hitched a ride in the minibus and arrived in time for warm Pimms, certainly helped ot take the edge off cold.

The venues was awesome, between Bruces mum the organisers and Benjamin the place looked awesome. The cake was great, there were photo montages of the bride and groom. Benjamin Bruces cousin had made not only the cakes but also chocolates for everyone.

We did a range of photos outside in the cold before heading in to sit down for lunch. I was pretty strange being sat on the top table everyone watching us eat. At the end it was time for the speeches. Nina's mum gave a really heartfelt piece. Bruce surprised me by giving a really good one he also dropped Phil and I in it by proclaiming our speech would be the best. Actually Phil and I only just about managed to get through it, we only had one copy to share and passing it back and forward just killed the comedy timing. Fortunately it was over quickly and we got a few laughs so it worked out in the end.

The evening do started around 7.30, Martin & Charlotte, Joe & Holly and Nick all turned up. Bruce's massive friend big Matt. Despite all the full he kicked up I was surprised to find that Jono didn't not turn up. There was an evening buffet comprised of hotpot, curry or lasagna.

Phil spent most of the evening do trying to woo the chief bridesmaid Jane. She was enjoying his company but didn't seem to want to take it any further. That did not deter Phil though, nor did the fact that she had a boyfriend whom she kept texting. I must admit that I tried to chat her up a little too though hopefully I've learned where to quit.

Had a catch up with Martin and Charlotte its been ages since I last saw them, I also had a good chat with Jo Holly. In fact it was a nice evening of talking drinking and even a bit of dancing. There was a really cheesy DJ which is exactly what was needed at a wedding. Martin conspired to get a Commodore 64 remix of pumpkin man played. I don't know what the families made of it, certainly cleared out the dance floor.

When I got home I was a little drunk and had many mixed emotions. I was so happy for Bruce and Nina it had been such a wonderful day. Part of me felt so empty though. I read my email before going to bed and wished I hadn't there was a mail from someone who told me they no longer wanted me to talk to them. I know I am an obsessive when it comes to internet relationships I thought this was a good one, I was wrong.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Losing Touch

I had a frustrating day at work seemingly I could do nothing right, perhaps I am distracted. Seems like there is never enough time to act. I feel worn out, tonight I sat and watched iron man which I quiet enjoyed. More than I expected I would.
Phil came around to work on the speech, we have something now though it needs a bit more yet hopefully we can bash something together before the big day not long now.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Prospekt's March

The only really constant thing in life is that things change. It really dosn't matter how hard we try the world is constantly changing even though sometimes sat in the same office day after day it can feel like everything is static. I was reminded how much life changes this evening. It was Bruce's wedding rehearsal. It was very strange to stand in Church listening to the Vicar details the day and vows for Bruce and Nina, surreal even. It was one of those time when I realised I am not so young anymore the world is moving on, time for me to do so too.

Afterwards we were treated to a nice Italian meal at Nina's ex place of work. It was a lovely evening of nice food excitement about the upcoming wedding. One of the bridesmaid Lindsey warned Phil and I not to get Bruce drunk Friday night. Actually they have no need to worry Bruce is just about the straightest guy I know.

I was cold and tired by the time we got home I had a rather disjointed and drunken chat to Martina, its her birthday on Friday, Phil and I are going to her party. Have to take it easy though be ready for Saturday, still have a speech to write...

Monday, December 01, 2008

Punchdrunk Lovesick Singalong

I got home from the gym after work today to find my birthday present from Lulu had arrived. She sent me a Beijing Olympics panda, and goat shaped "chop stamp". Goat because I was born in the year of the goat, its in English and Mandarin, the Chinese sounds a little like Cookie, but apparently means. It is a really nice gift and I was really touched by it.
Something else which arrived was my suit for Bruce's wedding. Unexpectedly it came with a cravat, I had to look up on-line how to tie the damn thing. Had a chat to Phil about the best man speech, we came up with a few ideas hopefully it provide a little light relief to the day.

Poor wire

Poor wire
Originally uploaded by j0hncooke

I found this in the ceiling, someone had properly bodged up the other end was connected to the switch so it was live when the light was on. I don't really think elastoplast is a substitute for electrical tape though.

It was another cold day, the fog hadn't lifted as I drove to Neston Way. I planned to have a fairly relaxed morning finishing stripping the living room with the archers for company. Afterwards I paid a long overdue visit to the tip then tried to find a farm which both sold wood and had some in for my parents fire. In the end I only managed to obtain overpriced bags from a local nursery the farms I visited were bare.

I managed to get to the gym, first time in a week, I have been so busy with the house I am so behind, I wanted a big push before Christmas. The only think I have managed to push on with is the house, thought its unlickely that will be finished in terms of moving in by Christmas.

This evening Nina and Bruce invited me round for dinner. Nina made a rather nice Jalfresi curry. I was pleasantly surprised how nice the meal tasted, for my tastes it could have been a little more spicy but I still very much enjoyed it. After the meal we chatted and watched TV. First top gear (Bruce's choice) then strictly come dancing (Nina's choice) then CSI which noone really chose but there wasn't much on. Less than a week until they are married, I still have a speech, or at least 50% of a speech to write.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

See Your Sunshine

I got a couple of bits at the house done today. I finally got my outside light working thanks to Jono's drill. I still haven't established why on earth he had a 1meter long drill bit, and I must have looked quiet stupid on a ladder with such a huge drill. Needless to say it made a hole through the external wall. I got called away to help out at the Berger's shop; they had been having an issue sending out emails. It seems BT Connect have introduced limits on the number of emails which can be relayed at once down to 50 recipients.

This evening I went to see Martina, she gave me a spicy food cookery book for my birthday. Should come in very handy when the house is done. We took a drive through the fog to see what the world looked like from the top of Werneth Low. Just before reaching the top of the hill we broke through the fog cover which offered some eerie views of Manchester. Normally most of the city is visible the lights of civilisation shining out. Not tonight, only the Beetham Tower and a few other tall structures were visible rising from the fog sea.

We had a few drinks on the hair and hounds before heading back to Stockport, we sat and watched tv while Neil played with the ferrets. We started to John Carpenters Vampires, which was a really awful film. It was actually so bad I found it hard to follow.

Big Drill

Big Drill
Originally uploaded by j0hncooke

Jono had this 1000mm drill bit, I have no idea what he needed it for but it was more than long enough to go through my wall.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Come Alive

The house really started to "Come Alive" today. Nick has finished putting up the plaster board and even started to plaster once of the walls in the kitchen. Most of the channels in the living room have been filled and I have removed the last remnants of the old wallpaper. It started to feel like it could be a house rather than a building site. Thoughts which were only of how to wire and what to rip out next are starting to turn to thoughts around decoration and look and feel of the final design.

To add to the good feelings a man arrived this morning to do a quote for the kitchen. Amusingly given there are bare floors and so forth he arrived in a full suit and tie.
It transpired he was an older chap ex of the air-force. He seemed like a really nice chap, hopefully he will give me a good (read affordable) quote.
This evening I went for a curry at the Sangam III with Bruce and Phil. Only one week to go until Bruce's wedding he seemed surprisingly calm about it all. Have to see what the rehearsal on Wednesday brings.

We had a relativly early one, and I was pottering round my room when Jono arrived about 1pm. Elgan his cat was missing, when he told me it had only been a few hours, I decide it wasn't worth going out looking, I think he just wanted an excuse to go rooting around and get out. He offered to lend me his drill, apparently screw fix gave him a long one, long enough to fix get the wiring to my outside light done with.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Sit and Wonder

This week has flown by, I barely know where the time has gone. Yesterday I was 29, only 365 days before I reach the big three zero, an age I can barely comprehend, yet I seemed to get there at Mach 9.
It was a good birthday, I spent the morning working on the house. Then in the afternoon I got my haircut then went to see my great aunt.
In the evening I arranged to go for a meal. In the end Phil, Bruce, Andy, Emily, and Nick attended. Originally it was going to be a boys night out but so I kind of put Martina off which turned out to be a bit of a stupid move when Andy and Emily responded (albiet at the 11th hour). The venue was Pesto, the Italian Tapas restaurant on Deansgate. Bruce picked Nick and myself up, Phil had offered to but having been delayed in Liverpool decided to meet us down there. We aimed to park and meet up and Andy and Emily's flat at about 8.30pm, we arrived at the car park to find a couple of PSCO's two students and a lot of coloured lights. The PCSO asked us nicely to go and park on the road because there was an art project in process, the lights spelled "sorry" in 1 meter high letters.
It had been since I last saw Andy and Emily so it was nice to catch up. Emily explained about her current project. Apparently on the back of coming top of her class she has been invited to lecture in Portland Oregon in the states, what an honour.
Walking down the cold street of Manchester we headed to Pesto. Some time ago I came with Nick, Emily and Andy; actually originally with a very different group of people before Foo Fighters but that is a very different story. Since which it has become one of the venues of choice for a meal out. The food is Italian style tapas, which actually is extremely varied and tasty. I ate, calamaris, skewered chozio sausage and chicken pieces, spicy tomato and potatoes along with a mixed salad.
After the meal we retire back to Abito for more chat and a few drinks, I had the last (and only beer) everyone else drank tea. Pretty much what I should expect on a school night, still a grat evening. It was a really great evening I appreciated everyone coming out and the many messages I got on Facebook all contributed to making it a really wonderful birthday.

Sunday, November 23, 2008


Today was a long day, in the morning I braved the rain and cold to go help Jo and Holly in the allotment. I missed the last few sessions and I noticed a real difference since the last time I ventured over, thought like my house what is left seems to dwarf what has been done. I always think there allotment is a weird oasis in shut off from the rest of the neighbourhood. I would never even imagine is was there a few minutes away from Broom Lane. I spent my time digging over one bed 2 hours later I managed to dig over 1/4 of a bed. It was really hard labour after the first hour I was already tiring, I guess I am not used to manual labour. The biggest problem isn't digging through the dirt though, its all the rubbish and crap in the dirt, which makes the digging more difficult. It was rainy and cold a few hours was the most we could stand. After a cup of tea I went back home for lunch they to my house to do some more wiring. I half expected to find Nick there, he told me he would be, I guess his other jobs ran over again. I really need to choose a kitchen this week, difficult though as my budget was consumed having to change cars. I managed with my dads help to get another socket wired in and a few bits done before fatigue took over. I had been planning to go visit Martina afterwards but I felt too tired.
I feel very tired and low tonight, there seems to be an insurmountable oath ahead of me, and I feel very alone to face what is ahead. I guess my birthday and the goings on t the work are all piling up on me. I find it hard to let go, but I need to more, find peace.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

The Present

I went out to see body of lies with Nick and Bruce this evening. I spent most of the day at my house wiring wiring, there is so much to do. I have pretty much abandoned plans to move in by Christmas. What with fund dwindling thanks to everything costing more than I budgeted for (with Nicks Help) and having to get a new car. I feel pretty much defeated right now. The film was pretty good, focusing on the destructive nature of lies, and the corruption of belief. Its a scary world we live in. The film was directed by Ridly Scot, and as I arrived home I caught the end of his brother Tony Scots 2001 Spy Game. An interesting contrast from different eras. Personally I preferred the Nihilism of Body of Lies, no body walked away clean.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Being Boring

I had the day off but that failed to stop the phone calls and email, I wish they would leave me alone. Today I worked on an affordability calculator, that is a system that works out how much you can afford to pay. I tried my best however increasingly I feel that is not good enough. Which is of course untrue I try as hard, and I am at least as smart as any of the people I work with, the truth is of course I have failed to find a way to market myself.

A long time ago when I was younger and more impressionable it would be almost unthinkable to be home on a Friday night. When did I make the transition from youthful exuberance to conservative (little c). Phil and I went to the unicorn and I couldn't help thinking how many time have I been here, yet I don't fit in, but what else should I do, go out somewhere? I feel a tired and bored right now, I logged into gmail (sorry google mail) and found that they have introduced backdrops to the email system, I choose a beautiful beach scene to remind me there is more to life than rainy Manchester, middling income and mediocrity.

There are only 368 days left until I am thirty, a very scary age, when you can no longer consider yourself youthful. Yet I still find it strange when people call me a man, because I still think I am young.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Thou Shalt Always Kill

As I came home I heard the De La Soul remix version of Scroobius Pip's Thou Shalt Always Kill, the original is good (see below) but the new version is awesome.

Twisted genius

I saw this on it literally made my jaw drop, that someone would actually write such a thing for fun amazed and fascinated me greatly, Kudos!

Seven Nation Army

I've been making a lot of mistakes recently, both in my personal and professional life. A lot of thing have got on top of me to the point where I am a lonely irritable person nobody wants to be around, not even me.
I went to Yoga tonight and for the first time in ages I just tuned out, no house, no worrying about money or stressing about work, it was relaxing but most of all afterwards I had a chance to just thing about everything, dispassionately

Next Tuesday is my birthday, its actually been getting me down, I have this strong urge that I should be successful by now. I realise though I have been putting too much stress on myself and its hampering things, and worse holding me back.

I am going to try and let go some more, allow myself to be happier and start to mend some of the bridges I have been breaking. I am still young enough to recover from mistakes now isn't the time to give up.

Monday, November 17, 2008

New Kitchen light

New Kitchen light
Originally uploaded by j0hncooke

12:44 16 November 2008 16112008266 It is super low energy only 22 watts

Sunday, November 16, 2008

In The Dark

Last night went for a few drinks with Nick at the John Millington. It was a nice night, we had a good chat. I felt ropey today thought, it was hard to get a move on I didn't make it to my house until after 11. When I finally arrived despite best efforts I achieved very little really. I got a new kitchen light in place along with replacement wiring. I also drained refilled and added inhibitor to the heating system, the light failed arund4.30 so by 5.30I was packed up and away.
I did try and wire up the outside light only to find my drill bit want long enough, that wast after lifting a very tricky floorboard which ran under the partition wall so I wasn't in the bet of moods.
I had a serious lack of fund this evening so I elected Obama to stay in and watch a film, Phil brought round some and after buying beer I ended up watching Dark Night. Despite best efforts (I went to the cinema twice and failed to see it) I was never saw it at the cinema, much to the chagrin of Paul. I really enjoyed it, much more than I imagined. It seemed to be a clever analyse that people frequently choose the path of least resistance rather than stand up for their beliefs. Its very difficult in such a self obsessed world to do anything for the greater good, perhaps it was ever thus.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Back on track

My monitor finally got repaired; well actually Dell sent a refurbished unit which they swapped for my broken one. Great to have the net at home again.

Today was another bad bad day at work, the customer I work at made another tranche of people redundant, about 1/3 of the workforce so a lot of unhappy people. I cant help feeling slightly responsible as every time I work on a big project the end result seem to be more automation so less people.

This evening I went to a BCS meeting with Bruce. The topic of tonight's meeting was security, organised by the a quango the Cyber Security Knowledge Transfer Network. I was quiet reviling to hear the governments take on security, there must be a dozen different agencies that before you get to the NGO level. Its no wonder they lose so much god knows how is in charge. Someone form the data protection agency explained the data protection act and then informed us that they basically don't have enough staff (only 3 enforcement officers). At the end of the meeting I felt like I had learned a bit but mostly hat everything is a bit fat mess too many agencies helping not enough people. Bruce got the idea that the remit was too wide.

After the meeting there was a free buffet, and free beer! We chatted to a few people, if I were better a networking I think this was the sort of place to make some contacts. Unfortunately for me I wasn't able to consume all of the free beer as Bruce had been to Gloucester so was tired and as he was giving me a lift back it was time to go. I did manage to get a free 1gb USB memory stick so that was an extra bonus.

Monday, November 10, 2008

I Stand Corrected

I woke up this morning and attempted to grab my email, unfortunately my monitor decided to throw a spanner in the works. Pushing the power button did not in fact lead to the normal illumination and display, it did absolutely nothing. After several frustrating minutes I gave up and tried looking on the Dell website to find out if it were under warranty. Everywhere on the site you are asked for a service tag yet none of the numbers on the monitor fitted the bill. My frustration level now boiling over to anger I gave up and asked my dad to ring Dell and see what they would do while I went out to work. He found out two things firstly Dell monitors do not in fact have service tags a fact which annoys both users and the support people alike. The second thing he found fortunately the warranty is four year so a replacement will be sent out in the next few days. i guess I will be using my old laptop until then. This i great news as I really don not have the money to get a replacement right now.

I had a second good piece of news the missing piece for my boiler control arrived, it cost a fortune for a connector but it I fitted it and the weather compensator does in fact work, reading the external temperature which as I left my house at 9 was 5c, pretty cool.

I met up with Phil for a quick fix of Congleton Aikido's website after which we headed to the unicorn for a pint. It was really dead I think there may have been more staff than customers, November is always a quiet time as people save for Christmas even so it looks like the credit crunch is in effect.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

How Soon Is Now?

I have been working hard on my house. Well I say hard by my level of work not so hard as Nick. I find it difficult to understand where he gets his energy from. I think that it is taking its toll though, he looked very tired on Saturday night.

Saturday, Bruce helped me put in my speaker cable I am inserting it into the walls I an effort to hide cables. Before heading to the house however I went to pick up a car. I am know the registered keeper of a T reg Ford Focus 1.8 LX. It might be 9 years old but its only done 55,000 miles and drives really well, and I can just about afford it! I am galled by the fact that I spent more trying and failing to keep the Saab on the road than it cost I wish I had stuck to my guns and scrapped it the day it first went wrong. Hindsight is 20/20 though and I wasn't to know that a team of mechanics couldn't repair a car, two lessons learned; Find out the value of the object to be fixed before repairing perhaps a replacement is cheaper, make sure the people effecting the repair have some experience and aren't simply going to waste time and money trying their best.

Ian came to visit while Bruce and I were at it, the last time he had seen the place there were a gang of Poles smashing the floor so I think he was impressed at the work. He was telling me about Dans' new place in Altrincham, apparently he is doing a bit of DIY too, I think we all must be getting old!

We arranged to head to the comedy night at the legion after finishing up, Nick and Phil would also be coming. It was pretty much the worst comedy I have ever been to, only one of the three comedians were funny. I felt most sorry for Ian it was the first time he had been, and after all the funny people I have seen there such a shame it was bad. We made the best of a bad job with a few more drinks on Bramhall. Jono and his girlfriend Nona turned up too, he was on good form.

I got really depressed today, first I had to do a pile of paperwork which has a lot of depressing red ink. Next I headed to the house to do some more wiring. I was chiselling out some brickwork because the plaster wasn't deep enough to flush fit a back box, I turned round and looked at my living room. It looks like it has been through a battle missing plaster, channels chiselled out and wires poking out from the new runs, there is still so much to do. On the plus side I dropped the last cable which when its all connected together will form the closing loop of the downstairs ring main, that along with the kitchen is now wired it just needs finishing after the plaster work is finished.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

I Never Came

Last night was Guy Fawkes night, and in the glorious tradition of celebrating failure Nick and I went to the legion so we could watch the fireworks at Woodford bonfire for free. I usually pay the entrance fee but at the moment I am seriously poor. The display was really fun, I love fireworks they remind me of being a kid and let me turn turn off and watch the pretty colours for a while.

Nick looked tired he has been ill with the flu recently, so he went home early and I met Phil for a couple of drinks in the Rectory after he finished Aikido. We tried to start working out what to sat at Bruce's wedding but have thus far only come up with vague ideas. As he came directly from Aikido class Phil was hungry at closing time he grabbed some take away from the Jamin. There was a really odd guy in there trying to muscle in on our conversation very strange. He caught one offhand comment and I felt like it was easier just to nod and smile than provoke him.

I have a couple of days off to work on my house so today I set about the wiring. Before I headed to my house though I went to Jacksons to look at a car they got in as a part ex. Its a 1999 T reg Focus 1.8 LX, not exactly inspiring but it drives and finances are tight so I have to go for cheap and cherful rather than fun right now. Having to get lifts really does suck, especially in a public transport deprived area like Woodford. In order to finance it I have applied to borrow some money via Zopa
Once I got to my place my dada and I set to work finishing cabling the kitchen. The wiring has proved to be a much bigger job than I expected. Everything just takes so long the hours just seem to melt away. We did quiet a god job today though almost putting all of the cabling in place tomorrow I should be able to let Nick start plastering it up.

This evening I met up with Martina, she was really upset by her uni course, I got the gist that her independent spirit was having difficulty accepting learning handed down by wrote. I know how she feels sometimes it hard to swallow what people are saying however not every battle is worth fighting.

Sunday, November 02, 2008


With no car I am at the mercy of parents, friends and public transport, not a good place to find oneself. Fortunately Phil offered to help me out

Spending 3 hours waiting in Screwfix is somewhat a frustrating way to waste away a Saturday. Phil offered to help me with the house, I was short some supplies so we took a ride to there. I picked up some smoke alarms, cable back boxes and speaker wire.

By the time we ended up managing to put only one cable in, it took well over an hour and required channelling out part of the wall, and running across the width of the house.

In the evening Phil Nick and I watched 21, a film about playing blackjack in Vegas and beating the system. I quiet enjoyed it, though I felt really weary and was glad to get home.

I have spent over £200 this weekend alone I still can't live in the place yet I still need to sort my kitchen out along with the rest of the electrics flooring and décor still a way to go yet. I am sure I will be happier when its a home not just a place to work on.

Live The Dream

I met Paul for lunch, he was up for a long weekend to visit all his northern friends. We had a reasonable lunch at the Swan talking about life the universe and eveyrthing else. It was a good diversion from work for me. Paul seemed in a good mood excited about his new pad and upcoming trip to Australia, I wish I were going.

I left work Friday night with the plan of going to the cinema to see the Freshly released James Bond a Quantum of Solace. I am carless again due to mine once again failing so my dad was supposed to pick me up after work. I say supposed because he didn't in actuality arrive, nor was he answering his phone. I ended up walking home carrying my laptop in the cold, I was in a pretty damn freezing by the time I got home, it took an hour an ten minutes.

I had no idea where my parents were and as I had planned to use their car to get to and from the cinema I was a little stressed out. I think that the trick or treater's were more scared of the angry man at the door who didn't have any sweets.

Against the advice of GMPTE journey planner I decided that the best way to Stockport was to get the 157 bust to Cheadle Hulme then take the train to Stockport. Waiting at the station I was surrounded by people in Halloween costumes. It was quiet surreal to be stood between a witch and thre guys dressed as Droogs.

I got to Stockport early, and was so hungry I broke a 5 year long drought and ate at McDonalds. I really wished at that point I had joined Martina and Annika in Rusholme for curry, but I wouldn't have made it in time to eat. As it was they were on the last minute arriving just before 10 when the film started at 9.40 (officially anyway we missed the trailers big wow).

During the wait for Martina and Annika I sat in the cafe bar of the cinema surrounded by school age children feeling very lonely and slightly out of place.

I was glad to get in the cinema, Bond didn't disappoint, action action action. What a joy it was like being 7 years old again. Directly following on from Casino Royal Bond follows Vespa's killers like a vengeful hound dog killing pretty much everyone in his path. Got to be one of the fewest women bedded, but some of the darkest and most action packed scenes; though nothing to rival the opening Parkour of Casino Royal.

I finally got hold of my parnets after the film, they had taken my grandma out for a trip which they thought was for a few hours and turned out to be a day night affair. I think my dad felt sorry for making me walk home so saved me a taxi fare and collected me from Stockport.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Satellites Lost

Today was not a good day, I pulled out of my drive only for my car to cut out 5 meters down the road, it is still sat there now. Work was really difficult, every day I see a little bit more of my hard work go to waste as we are edged out by the competition. I really wish there was something I could do about it, unfortunately no amount of my hard work helps. I feel pretty sad about it all tonight really, like my hard work is unappreciated and I don't have very much to show for my efforts. I know that isn't strictly true, I have a nice house it just needs some work, and I still have a job at a time when lot of people have lost theirs, so I should be thankful, when lots of things go wrong it isn't always easy to see that though.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Bruces stag do

Yesterday was Bruces' stag do, in two months he will be married. In the morning we went to Upper Tean for paint balling action. There was myself, Bruce, Phil, Steven, Jo Berger, and Bruces' cousins Benjamin and Nicholas.

The painball was a fun outdoor thing, getting shot hurt a bit, though not too badly unless you get hit in softer areas, like my neck and thighs. There were a number of games, attack and defend, team deathmatch, capture the flag. A bit like quake really only with less gore and more pain. The worse game for Bruce Phil and I was hunt the stag which involved the three of us running and being shot at but everyone, while we were unarmed.

After paintball we went for a meal at the March Hair, I had the swordfish steak it was very tasty. Then caught a taxi into Manchester to the Frog and Bucket for some more drinks and comedy. They levied a £10 behaviour bond on us as we were a groud opf guys. Phil did his best to lose it for us by talking during the act. We managed to collect it at the end though. Really enjoyed the comedy some good acts and a much friendlier place than the comedy store. Nick joined us for the comedy and drinks afterwards.

Benjamin turned out to be somewhat the wheeler dealer, he got on very well with Nick. Apparently he is not only buying a bakery but has managed to secure grants to renovate and offer subsidised Welsh produce (he lives in Anglesey).

After the comedy we went for drinks, for some reason opting to walk across Manchester to Deansgate Locks. It was raining and I was soaked and lost my contacts on the way so once their proceeded to drink myself into a stupor while Bruce was force fed cocktails. Everything was a blur, not just because of the alcohol minus contacts I could barely see more then a few feet in clarity.

The only weird thing I remember was on leaving some unknown girl got into one of the Taxies, apparently Phil was trying to chat her up, he didn't get very far though according to Benj.

I really felt in pain the next day. Waking up to a very terrible hangover, I spent the morning in pain. Even more pain when I found out one of my servers had failed. It took me hours to rectify the problem that should have taken minutes had I been a little more compus mentus.

In the evening Phil and I watched Adulthood, which proved to be a pretty good English film about a guy getting out of Jail of 6 years and finding himself dragged directly back into the shadowy world he had vowed to get away from.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Skiving Aussie fingered on Facebook • The Register

Reasons not to put every status update on Facebook, Skiving Aussie fingered on Facebook • The Register


Phil just sent me a very scary link I remember seeing lots of these spiders all over Northern Eastern Australia, in Noosa and on Fraser Island. I did also read recently that the UK is being invaded by foreign spiders, due to the milder winters. I am a terrible arachnophobe so this is al bad news for me.

I just got back from the pub too, after pulling a late one trying to get something's set up for a demo I thought I deserved a drink, so I was glad when Bruce called and we headed to the unicorn. It was amazingly quiet considering it was a quizz night in there. We chatted, bitched about work then came home. I got a reply in my continuing boiler saga, which actually made me laugh out loud. The guy in question sent me some photos to highlight where he thinks I should connect to and I can actually see the part I need in the corner of the photograph :D

Sunday, October 19, 2008


It is Sunday evening, tomorrow I am back at work. The weekend has disappeared in a flash, it started straight after work on Friday. Some people from work and I went to try out the new bar in Wilmslow. Revolution have opened up where the old Samuel Finny was. The new bar is ultra modern, mirrors everywhere. It looks great, though it seems very high maintenance not sure how long they will keep it looking good, they will need to work to keep it looking tiptop. Given the prices though I think can do it.

I left for home after a drink, caught up with Phil and Nick headed to the John Millington. It wasn't the right vibe though so we moved to the Governors house. It was more our age though still he wrong side on the male to female ratio.

Saturday, I met Nick to go on a shopping spree of bits for the house. We went to three places to buy cable, plaster board a door frame. Nick was brilliant, one place we went to asked for £26 for a door carcass, he questioned it straight away, they guy swore blind that was the normal price. After a bit of back and forth it transpired that his normal branch sold the same item cheaper, sigh Cheshire taxes I suppose.

While we were out shopping Martina texted me that she fancied coming over. By the time we finished for lunch she waiting at my parents. My dad made use all sandwiches after which we headed to my house. She was really great and stripped upstairs while Nick and I worked, thought I did have to do the clear up afterwards.

I fitted a new timer I bought from ebay to my boiler, it has an external sensor which measures the external temperature and it suppose to moderate the boiler thus making it more energy efficient. I have spent a lot of time making the place energy efficient both in an attempt to save money in the long run and to help reduce the dreaded carbon footprint. Unfortunately it all went a bit pear shaped as there was a connector missing so I put everything in place but I couldn't actually connect it to the boiler, slightly useless.

Saturday evening Nick, Phil Gilly and I went for a few drinks in Bramhall. Starting in what used to be Gray's. It seems very much more an eatery than a place to drink these days. Next we thought we would try out the New Bubble Room. We were all dressed reasonably smartly, shoes not trainers, shirts not T-Shirts, so were slightly surprised to be told we needed a reservation to use the Bar. The place did not exactly look full, so we were incensed at their attitude. We went to Beluga, which has a strikingly better male female ratio. A few gin and tonics and some good conversation later, Nick invited over some girls and the night ebbed out into a drunken but pleasant haze.

I felt rather less than pleasant this morning though, I did managed to get back to the house for yet more rewiring. I have now lifted floorboards in all the bedrooms, I had to demolish the old airing cupboard to get under the floor as helpfully someone in the pas put a floor on top of the floor. Fortunately I still had Bruce's circular saw and Nick lent me his wreaking bar, it is my new favourite toy :)

We finished late and I felt so tired this evening I read a chapter of two of my book and now its time for bed.

Friday, October 17, 2008

It's My Own Cheating Heart That Makes Me Cry

I spent last weekend lagging my pipes and doing more wiring. I think I have reached the point where I am a little overwhelmed with the task I just have to battle on to try and get it finished.
I also caused a gas leak, at least both I and Bruce thought I had, however when the plumber arrived on Thursday he proved everything was ok by first doing a leak test then using a blow torch to heat up the joints and ignite any leaking gas, there wasn't anything to ignite though. I felt rather stupid indeed, in my defence Bruce and I were both convinced we could smell something.
I have had some pretty dark moments this week in many ways I feel that I am stagnating despite the positive step of finally getting onto the property ladder, the amount of work I worry that my career isn't going anywhere. I suppose in the current climate I should be grateful that I have a career at all.
It has been a strange week for old contacts, firstly there was the incredibly sad news from M&Al. There text messages have left me scarily numb and unable even to form a reply, I cannot even begin to imagine what it would be like for them. I also got a message from an old school mate and a text phone call from Paul's ex Lisa. Lisa made me jealous talking abut Melbourne, I wondered out loud what I am doing sill in the UK?

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Not much to believe in

It seems like weeks whiz past in the blink of an eye. This week certainly disappeared quickly before I realised Friday was upon me.
I was invited to an team meal with the customer which was nice. We ate at a restaurant in Manchester called Bacchanalia. I had at calamaris starter followed by Chicken wrapped in parma ham. It was really enjoyable food, thought watching Gordon tuck into his stake must say I felt a bit envious.
After the meal we went to Norwegian Blue, and underground bar. I drank a couple of beers and started to feel quiet tipsy. Next stop was the Bar and grill, then onto Mojo. A few more drinks and I was feeling very drunk. They went off to the casino, I didn't fancy it so I caught the bus to Parrs Wood and in an effort to save some money decided to walk from there. An hour later I sobered up, my feet hurt and I had only reached Cheadle Hulme, all in it took the best part of two hours to get home.

I cant believe I started writing this post so long ago, I really finding it hard to balance my life at the moment.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Nerver miss a beat

I just have to say I really like the Kaiser Chiefs song, the title of which I've lifted for today's blog. It reminds me so much of high school, the apathy trying to fit in and thinking people were really cool, to cool for school even.
Today was a bit of a blur at work, I felt tired to start with and after being harassed I felt rather frazzled. My mood wasn't improved when I got to the gym to find I left my shorts at home, oops.
I went home had dinner and headed to my house, spent an while stripping some wall paper. I find stripping so dull and frustrating I can only managed to do small chunks at a time. To be honest I felt pretty frustrated the last few times I have gone to do work, everything take so long and there is still so much to do. I have to keep reminding myself of all the work that has been done on the floor, the heating and wiring. Eventually it will be a home rather than just a drain on my time/money/sanity.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Web cafe

I just got back from Birmingham where I was assisting Phil setting up an internet cafe at the National Indoor Arena in Birmingham. It was the third time I have helped out, and it went a log better than last time. There were a few mix ups to start with, for some reason rather than get the laptops together beforehand they were delivered to the site. That meant we had to rely on a windows installation Phil made before hand.
The cafe is funded by one of the stallholders at the event National cancer research. The stalls are all drug companies cancer charities and Universities. This year GlaxosmithKline sponsored so all the laptops had GSK screen savers and backgrounds.

There was also another smaller room of PC for previewing slides unfortunately we couldn't get in until Sunday morning, which meant an early morning call to finish all of the bits off.

We did get treated to a meal and a few drinks at Pizza express Saturday night and I got some cash for helping out which comes in very handy at the moment.

I left around mid day, I then had to drive Jim's Sprinter Van back to Manchester. Its was only the second time I have driven a van of any size the first being on the way down with Phil. It was good on the motorway, not so much fun when I nearly ran out of fuel because I had neglected to pay attention to the fuel gague until the light came on. I don't think trunk driving is for me, I was glad to get in my car and sputter home.

Friday, October 03, 2008

The state I am in

Sometimes everything is wrong. Lately a heck of a lot of things have been getting the better of me, my job and renovating my house have eaten away all my time and energy. I have put on a few kilo because I haven't had (or made) enough time to get to the gym or sleep. I got the Saab back from the garage but its still not right the only thing I can think to do is trade it in. This causes something of cashflow crisis though. Tomorrow I have to pay the plumbers as they have practically finished installing the central heating system tomorrow they just have a few small bits to finish off. That and the money I owe Nick is practically all of my savings exhausted and I still have a kitchen, flooring and decorating to do. Oh might need some furniture as well :S

I got to the house tonight to find two letters from utility companies. First one from Scottish Power, a final bill using estimated gas usage. They estimate I have used a heck of a lot more Gas than the 1 unit I have so I phoned to report that and to pay. After going through 3 levels of automated services I got a message telling me all of the operators were busy after which it hung up. Sigh, the other letter was from British gas telling me they were now suppling me gas only could I confirm the property they were suppling to was a flat in Milton Keynes, sigh. I spent 20 minutes on hold at the end of which the operator told me their computer system was down so could I call back another time. I was pretty enraged by this point, a phone call from Phil basically telling me he couldn't be bothered to get things organised for Saturday did little to improve my mood.

I went round to Martinas for some food and to watch Nip Tuck, my god its depraved and twisted. A murderous teddy bear making agent, cannibalistic newlyweds and self destruction seem to be the main themes. Her brother arrives tomorrow, he doesn't speak English and is apparently wary of meeting too many people so I may or may not get to meet him.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Banks still suck

I needed to pay the plumbers tomorrow and after last times fiasco I thought I better ring up first.
I explained the situation to the call centre worker who dutifully informed me that Alliance and Leicester branches do not hold large cash deposites but that he could arrange me to make a withdrawal from a local post office. This dosnt exactly lend me confidence in the bank in fact I pretty much feel that when I sort out my house I will be moving banks.
If anyone actually has a bank they can reccommend please comment or send me an email.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Whos money (Banks Suck)

I had a pretty hectic day yesterday quiet a few things went a bit pear shaped both at work and personally. I got especially pissed off with Alliance and Leicester. I needed to get a lump of cash (£1000) to Nick to pay for various materials for the house.
I walked into Bramhall branch had to wait for what seemed like an age. It was the usual story only one teller working with several other staff standing around generally ignoring the growing queue. My money is in a savings account linked to my main account so firstly I asked to move the money between my accounts. I was told the only way I could do this was to use the internet or the phone banking. I responded I expected a teller to be able to do this and I needed to withdraw said cash so I didnt see much point leaving the queue only to rejoin it to get the money. She kept on telling me that she couldn't help. She then went on to tell me my account had a £250 daily withdrawal limit. At this point I basically hit the roof and demanded either my money or I would close my account and come back with a baliff to collect it. She offered to make an exception, I thought exception, how is that, this is a bank its my money I am perfectly entitled to withdraw it.

I walked out with my money, paid Nick and drafted a letter of complaint, I'll let you know how it goes.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

In Bruges

Friday night I fixed a PC for the cousin of an ex customer. Her old laptop was so slow it took over an hour to copy her photos to my memory stick (usb 1.0 slow slow slow) and 4 minutes to copy them onto her new laptop! After that amusement I headed to Wilmlsow with Russell. He headed back to university on Saturday so it was the last chance to meet up. Its a little strange going meeting up someone after several years gap, but we had a nice chat he looked around the house. We met Phil in the Rectory he had been for a meal with his parents and was already drunk by the time we arrived. We had a long chat about women, Russell seemed to know half of the girls in there but hadn't capitalised on it. I drove so got to watch thm both get more and more drunk until the conversation headed so far south it was time to leave.

Saturday, I spent the morning getting a new website for work up and running. Well the infrastructure anyway. The web designer needs to do the rest. It went pretty well though I feel a lot more confident about the new strategy, I just hope its successful so I can secure my job. Saturday afternoon Martina cycled round and helped me strip some paper from the living room ceiling. Bruce popped in just as we were finishing up, he and I chatted about how to route cables.

I got home in time to find Jono showing off his new chainsaw, yes Jono bought a chainsaw, not just a little one either a Makita petrol chainsaw, its a beast. I am kind of scared what he will do with it!

I went for dinner at Martina's, she made plum pie and I piked salad leaves from her garden. We ate the plum pie with smarties ice cream, yum! Neither of us have any money so we stayed in and watched TV, Saturday night tv is rubbish, no good films no decent shows boo!

Today has been a good day, after the endless rains of summer today was sunny hot and rain free. I tried to amend some issues with the web server then headed to the house. Nick was repairing the crushed flags so I decided to strip some more paper. I have discovered that stripping wallpaper is a truly thankless task. You scrap and scrap and very slowly clear patches, Nick told me he hates it so much that usually he just smashes off the plaster and starts again from fresh. Unfortunately I can't quiet run to that sort of expense. I managed to clear two walls in the master bedroom though Ill have to go over them again with the steamer. I was getting fed up of stripping and with the good weather I decided to put up my new light.

This evening I went for a jog which made me feel good so I celebrated by eating chocolate and drinking beer while watching In Bruges. In Bruges is a film about two contract killers hiding out in Bruges, set against the beauty of Bruges Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson evaluate their lives as contract killers while meeting prostitutes, Canadians and Dwarfs.

Phil and I drank Stella Artois "Triple filtered smooth lager". It was actually very nice, at 4% not as strong as normal Stella but a lot more tastey and only £3 for 4 cans at Tesco, Bargain.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

A secret tour

I had the day off today kind of, somehow I managed to be roped into going to not one but two meetings which ate up the majority of the day. Both meeting were fruitful so it was a pretty good, even if I should have been working on my house.
Talking of which a kitchen designer arrived this morning, he is going to draw up a plan of the kitchen including thinking about the best place to put the door.
This evening I went with Bruce on a British Computer Society arranged tour of Hack Green. It is amazing to see what Nuclear weapons look like, and what the government had planned for Britain in the event of a Nuclear war.
The guys running the tour let out all sorts of facts including that a number of Russians have visited Hack Green and told the owners that they had planned not to invade the UK but simply bomb it out of existence as we were (are) effectively an aircraft carrier for the US. Also the 4 minute warning plans involved dissolving the government leaving the country to be governed by regional seats (of which Hack Green would be one) and closing supermarkets and petrol stations taking the good into government control, scary stuff. All in all it was a fascinating place to visit for anyone with an interest in defence.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Electric Feel

It has been a long weekend for me as I worked at home on Friday. Friday evening I went to see Sandbox at Moho live. Phil drove as he had done a marathon work session helping out throughout Thursday night de rigging the GMEX. We picked up Nick who who demolished a Fosters in pretty much one swallow. It transpired that his day had not been the best. The Poles who planned to return home for a month had demanded a pay rise or they were refusing to come back to the UK. The remuneration of the Poles is pretty complicated and I don't really want to detail what he relayed to us the long and short is if he offered them more he could get English labourers and have a lot less hassle. He was especially galled as he had gone out of his way to line up work for them. I talked to him about how it would make an interesting scene in a book he keeps talking about writing, I even offered to Ghost write it for him...
We arrived in time to catch a pretty good band on the main stage before moving to the second room for Sandbox. Chief was on good form as was Emily after getting her results finishing top of her year. Sandbox played a good set I didn't get to meet the new guitarist but he sounded good. We were all fairly tired so we pretty much made a move off as soon as there set was over.

Saturday I spent the morning relaxing, Jono rather randomly popped round with his girlfriend Nona. It was a little bit of a strange meeting. After which I headed to the gym. I did the first proper work out in ages and felt tired, though good for it. In the Phil and I headed to the Legion for the comedy evening, we drank some beers had a lot of laughs then walked home, it was a fun evening.

This morning I met Martina and we went to the breakfast club screening of The Good the Bad and the Ugly. It is a great film which though she is a lover of the western genre Martina had never seen. I really love it the. The cinematography is great, shots of peoples eyes, the way tension is built up . The dialogue is limited yet almost perfect, all the characters are strong. Comedy is interwoven with the futilities of war and the madness greed drives men too. My favourite line is Tucos when after kililng an attacker who delivers a diatribe while he is in the bath "When you have to shoot, shoot, don't talk." I especially liked the ending all the build up hours of tension between the three protagonists is fixed within minutes, Clint the man with no name riding off into the the future with half the gold.

After that great film we came to look at my house, I now have a floor, not door or kitchen wall though. For bits for Nick to finish off before I can get in and do the rewiring. It looks a lot better now the concrete is down without the cracks, you can play marbles on there now :)
We then headed to my parents house to watch Nip tuck for a few hours before having a last orders drink in the unicorn with Bruce Nina and Phil.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Load level Polish Style

Load level Polish Style
Originally uploaded by j0hncooke

The Poles certainly know how to fill up a skip to the top and then some.

The Youth

Work was interesting today a colleague came in to work on a different project, it was good to have some diversion. Together he I and another guy who went for lunch at the Swan, it was a really relaxed surprisingly positive given the circumstances.

This evening I went to do an ID assertion. We got chatting over a beer, it turned out he was a really interesting guy. Turns out he drives trains for a living, he had lots of interesting stories and confirmed at least a few of my cynicisms, especially about the green running of trains. Originally from Sweden thought having lived in teh UK for some time. We talked about trains, Sweden and life. He told me he lived in the Beetham Tower in Manchester. In which on a good day you could see all the way to the airport and the hills he was also telling me when it snowed the apartment was was above the cloud level so the sky way empty. I never really considered apartment living before but that sounded pretty amazing to have such views. I suppose you have to pay a premium though, my apartment in China didnt have any really nice views.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Built on sand

Built on sand
Originally uploaded by j0hncooke

Matthew 7:[26] And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand:

I have never quoted the bible before but I think it is pretty appropriate, rather than use hardcore whomever built my house used only sand to support the concrete. It should have tons of compacted hardcore to support the 7 tons of concrete. Nick plans to put in steel support to concrete too, once its done it should last a long long time.

Friday, September 05, 2008


Murphy's law says that "Anything that can go wrong will go wrong", which at the moment seems to some up the recent events in my life.

Tonight I feel negative because after finding out my floor and heating are both going to cost more than I budgeted for, on the way home from my house my car died in what I very much fear is a terminal way. So I am carless, all my savings are spent (or at least allocated) and I can't live in my house nor do I have a car. Couple that with the fact I am working for a company who's fortunes have very much been transformed for the worse by the credit crunch so much so its affecting my earnings in a very real way. I feel pretty trapped and stupid earlier. I came to the conclusion when I heard the rumblings about work I should have pulled out of buying the house. It was just I got caught up in the fact I had finally found a house I could afford in an area I wanted to live. I didn't factor in enough what would happen if my situation changed.

I feel a lot more calm now though. After talking to friends today and this evening I realised the way you feel very much depends on your point of view. Through all this doom and gloom, I realised I have some great friends, confidants, that I have my health, and in the end if it comes to it I am smart enough to get out there and find another job. I have even decided to start studying again in an effort to make myself more employable.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Original Floor

Original Floor
Originally uploaded by j0hncooke

Second vinyl

Second vinyl
Originally uploaded by j0hncooke

Amzing what some people do, I lifted one piece of vinyl only to find another, lifted that only to find tiles, and under the tiles, more tiles.

Island of Domination

Strange Days, work was difficult today, I feel like nothing I can do is right. I found a way to save potentially hundreds of pounds a year today and it was greeted with derision. I went to lunch with a colleague and we had a good bitch about it all.

After work I went with my dad to pull some more rubbish out of my house (see the following pictures). Managed to take out all the builders tiles in the living room and most of the kitchen floor.

This evening I walked down to the unicorn with Nick. I have finally finished my antibiotics so I could finally enjoy a drink. It was a very humid and muggy night so we sat outside. There were a group of girls on the table across from us having a good time, at least seemingly. A guy came over to them, and a few minutes later they were having a full blown row, it transpired that is was her 40th birthday and she felt he wasn't bothered, to be honest hearing them I didn't feel either of them deserved sympathy.

Thursday, August 28, 2008


I just read this brilliant article on El Reg. It shows what can happen to people when they write about things they do not really understand which happen to also piss off people who do. A web search (on Google at least) for the offending columnist Julie Moult now returns this blog. Which shows two things really, annoying technical people can lead to problems and Googles ranking system is clearly manipulable by the internet masses.

Dumped Tyres

Dumped Tyres
Originally uploaded by j0hncooke

On the way to Sundays concert I saw this pile of dumped tyres with a note from the council on. I would have thought clearing up the mess would have been preferable to putting a big yellow notice on it.

Monday, August 25, 2008

The end of the world as we know it

"and I feel fine" Michael Stipe wrapped up the R.E.M. concert in Manchester last night with that iconic song. Despite being a fan for years I have never seen R.E.M. live. I remember being in France years ago on a rugby tour a listening to Monster, what's the frequency Kenneth was just so brilliant. I was really happy when they played it right at the beginning of the set. They played a real mixture of songs a lot from the new album but interspersed with bits from throughout their career. Michael Stipe addressed the crowd several times dedicating a couple of songs to the gay pride festival going on in Manchester over the weekend. They called on the encore by the video guy putting his iphone with a scrolling "Encore?". I really enjoyed the concert a lot, more than I expected in fact. I think that there recent material works a heck of a lot better live than recorded.

The set up swas a lot smaller than for Radiohead, with parts of teh field cut off. Another weird thing was we were actually stood on the cricket pitch at LCCC. Everytime I had been to concerts there previously the pitch had been covered with plastic. I guess they must be resurfacing or something.

Supporting R.E.M. were the Guilimots who were on form, and a lot better than when I saw them at the Academy but really not my kind of thing.
The second support band were the Editors who I have to say were excellent, and one of the best support acts I have ever seen. They pretty much played everything off their albums which was great.

The concert was notable for one other feature, we found a food stand selling gourmet buffalo burgers, which tasted excellent, the best food I have ever eaten at a concert by some margin.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Love Is Noise

Something I don't seem to have enough of at the moment is time. I try and do as much as I can see as many people as possible, only somewhere along the way I keep letting everyone down. The last few weeks have passed in a blur. Since I became a homeowner I have tried to get there as much as possible even if its only to do one small job. That had been my plan yesterday, but over the course of the day my arm had swollen up to the point where at 3m it was so painful I had to take a trip to the doctors. Dr Ali informed me that I had cellulitus and prescribed a course of antibiotics.

I went to the pharmacy bought the horse tranquilliser sized tablets then came home to eat pizza and watch Interstate 60. A lovefilm recommendation starring Gary Oldman and James Marsden, its an interesting take on the voyage of discovery.

I wanted to do so much today, work on the house, go to the gym, see friends, write my blog. Some how maybe because of the fact my body is fighting off an infection I just felt too tired to do any work on the house. Instead I took my mum shopping she needed a new washing machine so we went to several places looking for the right model at the best price.

In the evening I collected Phil, Bruce Martina and headed to the March Hair for a quite drink and chat. Afterwards we went round to Bruce's to watch the Reading festival coverage. They drank scrumpy while I sat and eat pringles, it was a pleasant evening though.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Are the batterys dead?

These were the batteries I found inside the doorbell housing, they look like they are from the 1970's needless to say the bell dosn't work
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Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Foaming at the mouth

I went to see Cine this evening at Moho live in Manchester. I picked Nick up early, my gran and parents were monopolising the house so I needed to get out.

As we were so early Nick and I went for a drink and a chat in Dry Bar. As we talk a seat a surreal moment happened as a guy entered the bar with his dog, he sat outside to smoke with a beer and the barman brought the dog a bucket of water to drink from.

Nick is an inspiration to me, I have only been working on my house for a couple of weeks and already I feel worn out, I have no idea how he manages it day after day. Ian Faye and Danny joined us for a quick drink. Ian an Faye were looking tanned and happy after their sojourn in the US. We didn't have long to chat before we had to make a move to the club.

Danny pointed out that Moho is actually in what was the Lazy Pig. It brought back some memories of college days.

Inside Moho met up with Andy Gilmore, Emily, Jo Berger, Alex Humphrey, Paul Fletcher (who had something to do with holding the event). Cine played a good set, Paul was really hyped up, James was awesome on the guitar I really like the keyboard effects creating an almost door's like sound which was a suitable adjunct to Paul songs.

I really enjoyed the performance but afterwards the next band was way way too loud I couldn't talk to anyone properly so I hung around for a bit before making an exit about 11.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Violent Cop

Phil told me some interesting news last night. He is planning to go to Japan for a year, apparently he can get a working holiday Visa there. I am really Jealous if he is, Japan is an amazing place I would love to spend more time there. I am not sure if I could work there though, the super long hours would really put a drain on me. On a plus note I really want to go again and if Phil's over there is would be a great reason to visit.

I met Sarah again for lunch today we arranged to meet up for the Cine gig tomorrow. She said something pretty interesting we were talking about some of the people I know and she said "they are like characters in a book". I suppose I never thought about it before but while my blog is a diary for me it is a story to other people. It is always interesting for me to learn other points of view.


I made it through another Monday. It was actually a pretty good day for a Monday. I managed to fix a problem that has been taxing me for some time. Unfortunately in the current times of downsizing and credit crunching moral is pretty low. The office was like a ghost town today after the recent crop of staff leaving.

I was very glad whenSarah sent me a message to see if I was free for lunch. I BLT and a chat in the Swan was just the job.

After work I headed to my house took out the horrible carpet in the master bedroom and changed a couple of the lights removing the 1960s pendants. For the moment in most rooms I am just putting up cheap and cheerful fittings Ill get nice lights int eh fullness of time.

I borrowed Phils laptop to do my accounts, while I was tapping away I we watched the family guy Jo B gave me. It was called Blue Harvest a take on Star Wars a New Hope. Apparently the Blue Harvest moniker was the code name George Lukas used when making Star Wars. It was a hilarious take on the film I especially liked the dirty old man as OB1 I laughed out loud several times.

Monday, August 18, 2008

It has been a long long weekend I feel like a lot has happened. On Friday I set off for work got to the end of my road only for my car to cut out. I called my dad got a lift to work and he called the AA for me. The AA man found something quiet worrying. When the mechanic started to investigate he found an access panel had been cut to gain access to a relay (which was stuck causing the problem). One tap later and the car was running. I do think that its time for a change, I am going to use this to take everything to the tip and when the house is done look for a new vehicle.

After work I headed out for a drink with Nick Phil and Bruce at the unicorn. I felt pretty tired but it was an enjoyable evening.

Saturday I spent most of the day stripping paper off the wall of my house. It was woodchip, hard to remove and when it did come off was really sharp. My hands are covered in little nicks, war wounds from paper stripping. I started to become a little overawed with the whole job. I have spent quiet a bit of time there now and thought things are progressing there is an awful lot to do yet. Martina popped round in the afternoon to give me a hand, which was useful as she is quiet a bit taller than me and I don't have any step ladders yet she was able to do some of the higher bits on the wall.
Nick and Phil had arranged to go out for a few drinks in Wilmslow in the evening but I felt so tired that I ended up watching Monty Python's Holy Grail with Martina then had an early night.

Today I went to B&Q to have a look at the kitchens and pick up some supplies. I spent the morning removing more of the kitchen, just have to wait for the gas to be capped so I can remove the rest of the work top. I was meant to help out Jo and Holly with their allotment but after getting a bit carried away I didn&39;t arrive until they had nearly finished.

I spent the evening ordering bits from Screfix then went round to Phils to watch a film. We watched the Pathfinder, it was pretty dreadful, one to avoid.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Look Out Sunshine!

It has been a long long weekend I feel like a lot has happened. On Friday I set off for work got to the end of my road only for my car to cut out. I called my dad got a lift to work and he called the AA for me. The AA man found something quiet worrying. When the mechanic started to investigate he found an access panel had been cut to gain access to a relay (which was stuck causing the problem.

After work I headed out for a drink with Nick, Phil and Bruce at the unicorn. I felt pretty tired but it was an enjoyable evening.

Saturday I spent most of the day stripping paper off the wall of my house. It was woodchip, hard to remove and when it did come off was really sharp. My hands are covered in little nicks, war wounds from paper stripping. I started to become a little overawed with the whole job. I have spent quiet a bit of time there now and thought things are progressing there is an awful lot to do yet.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Break And Enter

I have been so busy recently I hardly can tell where the time has gone. I have removed most of my kitchen, started stripping the walls. My mum has been really great and made a real start in the garden. To be honest I think she has quiet enjoyed herself pottering around in the garden. My garden is a lot more manageable than my parents.

There have been lots of things I have really wanted to blog, but I am rubbish at takings notes and the stories have already escaped my head. I hope soon to return to more regular posts.

Now my parents new kitchen is nearing completion they had there old washing machine and fridge freezer which Nick helped me to transport to my house. Washing machines are really, really heavy! I offered to buy Nick a drink for his efforts so he walked round to my parents house about 10, out of nowhere the nice evening went very nasty and the rain came down in a monsoon type downpour. I elected to drive but even walking to the car we got we and the visibility was only 20 meters.

It was quizz night in the Unicorn so conversation was difficult and e both felt tired so after a drink we came home.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

The Bridge

"Rumours of my demise have been greatly exaggerated". I am still alive and kicking though the last few weeks have been a trying time. My parents house is in bits, its been stressful not having anything to cook on or even a sink for a few days. I have tried being an electrician which worked a little but proved harder than it looked.

Yesterday I put down my house deposit, the single most expensive transaction I have ever made by a long long way. I was pretty scared in the moment on the phone to the women from accounts reading this big number that was my deposit, fees to the solicitors and stamp duty. I do think that it is a positive step getting somewhere to live rather than rely on my parents forever.

Today was an awful day for me at work unfortunately I can't talk about it here, suffice to say the credit crunch is taking few prisoners amoungs't our customers which obviously is eventually going to feed into our companies finances.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

No Net

Due to the building work at my parents house I have not been able to get on-line to blog. You can see some of the photos of the work on Flickr

If everything goes to plan I will be a homeowner a week tomorrow, pretty scary stuff!

Sunday, July 27, 2008


I have spent most of the weekend without internet. Even now the equipment which normally keeps me on-line is somewhat jerry rigged. The reason for this mess up is that this weekend I my dad and Bruce have been doing a spot of re-wiring. My parents are having a new kitchen, and moving the cooker and appliances around so the cooker mains and some sockets needed moving around.
I thought that it would be a fairly straight forward task, that isn't quiet how things turned out. We had to chop plaster off the wall, take up floorboards in the room upstairs, run a cable into the wall underneath the toilet and into my old bedroom.

Near the end we had to do too long cables runs, they were unexpectedly long because of the route we had to take. Unfortunately this meant we ran out of cable just after B&Q had closed. Fortunately Bruce had a brainwave, Phils parents are also having some work done. Including replacing all the old electrics, they ere only installed about 10 years ago so the cable would do for us. We called round and after asking for permission from Gillian we were able to find a few decent lengths of cable in the skip. It was in really good condition too.

Eventually we managed to get three ew single sockets and move two double sockets and get the wire for the new cooker in place. It took most of the weekend but for a bonus I got take away two evenings on the trot :) Very naughty, but extremely tasty.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Where is my address book?

I have been moving some users from one server to another when one complained that his address book had gone missing. For a moment I got a bit paranoid then I reasoned the information must exist somewhere.
I copied all of his email but somehow the addresses were gone. After much searching I found that he used Squirrel Mail, which stores addresses and preferences in a data directory. In Ispcp installations these files are per user and stored in /var/www/ispcp/gui/tools/webmail/data Each mail user (who has logged into webmail) will have a user.abook and a user.pref and copied his to the new server and his addresses were restored.

Lie Damn Lies and Statistics

I just took a short break to browse one of my favourite news websites when I spotted the following article about The return of Killer Chlorine. Its actually a piece debunking some of the junk science and misuse of numbers to support sensationalist arguments. In this case he examines the claims that there is a link between chlorine heart disease. The scary numbers are soon proven to be inflated and of questionable value.

Following the links one comments I found that the author John Brignell runs a website Number Watch dedicated to monitoring and informing the facts behind some of the headline numbers the papers attempt to scare us with. It looks a little basic but was a very interesting read.

On the same note take a look at the following site.
Dangers of DHMO
Its a parody of some of the scare stories DHMO is of course more commonly referred to as H20 or Water.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008


I feel tired but not sleepy, today was pretty long. Last night I stayed in York and spent the evening with Kasia. Her flat was stupidly hot for some reason they have the heating on? Fortunately we managed to have a really enjoyable evening listening to music and eating pizza. Having driven up there after work, this morning I had to wake up early enough to get back in time for work. Driving across the M62 in the morning. The motorway was pretty crowded full of trucks and there was fog on the top. I made a quick stop off at home to find the my mortgage offer had finally arrived, its quite scary to read through to see in black and white how much everything costs.

In popping home I made the fatal error of leaving my phone, a fact that came back to bite me several times during the course of the day. I rarely get calls during the day, today however I missed two calls from the boss, one from a colleague and most importantly a text from Sarah to tell me she wasn't going to meet me for lunch. Missing that one left me waiting for 20 minutes in a pub on the other side of Wilmslow.

This evening I went to Yoga class with Martina, she was really upset as a job she had lined up feel through because the women who interviewed her (before she went home to Germany) left. I found it hard to know what to say, I have learned a lot about the interview process you really need to play the game, something she just hasn't learned how to do yet. I hope something turns up for her.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Shamelessly stolen from liz's blog.

The Big Read reckons that the average adult has only read 6 of the top 100 books they've printed. Well let’s see.

1) Look at the list and bold those you have read.
2) Italicise those you intend to read.
3) Underline the books you LOVE, or strikeout the books you read but didn't like.
4) Reprint this list in your own LJ so we can try and track down these people who’ve read only 6 or less and make them read.

1. The Lord of the Rings, JRR Tolkien
2. Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen
3. His Dark Materials, Philip Pullman
4. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams
5. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, JK Rowling
6. To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee
7. Winnie the Pooh, AA Milne
8. Nineteen Eighty-Four, George Orwell
9. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, CS Lewis
10. Jane Eyre, Charlotte Brontë
11. Catch-22, Joseph Heller
12. Wuthering Heights, Emily Brontë
13. Birdsong, Sebastian Faulks
14. Rebecca, Daphne du Maurier
15. The Catcher in the Rye, JD Salinger
16. The Wind in the Willows, Kenneth Grahame
17. Great Expectations, Charles Dickens
18. Little Women, Louisa May Alcott
19. Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, Louis de Bernieres
20. War and Peace, Leo Tolstoy
21. Gone with the Wind, Margaret Mitchell
22. Harry Potter And The Philosopher’s Stone, JK Rowling
23. Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets, JK Rowling
24. Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban, JK Rowling
25. The Hobbit, JRR Tolkien

26. Tess Of The D'Urbervilles, Thomas Hardy
27. Middlemarch, George Eliot
28. A Prayer For Owen Meany, John Irving
29. The Grapes Of Wrath, John Steinbeck
30. Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland, Lewis Carroll
31. The Story Of Tracy Beaker, Jacqueline Wilson
32. One Hundred Years Of Solitude, Gabriel García Márquez
33. The Pillars Of The Earth, Ken Follett
34. David Copperfield, Charles Dickens
35. Charlie And The Chocolate Factory, Roald Dahl
36. Treasure Island, Robert Louis Stevenson
37. A Town Like Alice, Nevil Shute
38. Persuasion, Jane Austen
39. Dune, Frank Herbert
40. Emma, Jane Austen
41. Anne Of Green Gables, LM Montgomery
42. Watership Down, Richard Adams
43. The Great Gatsby, F Scott Fitzgerald
44. The Count Of Monte Cristo, Alexandre Dumas
45. Brideshead Revisited, Evelyn Waugh
46. Animal Farm, George Orwell
47. A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens
48. Far From The Madding Crowd, Thomas Hardy
49. Goodnight Mister Tom, Michelle Magorian
50. The Shell Seekers, Rosamunde Pilcher
51. The Secret Garden, Frances Hodgson Burnett
52. Of Mice And Men, John Steinbeck
53. The Stand, Stephen King
54. Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy
55. A Suitable Boy, Vikram Seth
56. The BFG, Roald Dahl
57. Swallows And Amazons, Arthur Ransome
58. Black Beauty, Anna Sewell
59. Artemis Fowl, Eoin Colfer
60. Crime And Punishment, Fyodor Dostoyevsky
61. Noughts And Crosses, Malorie Blackman
62. Memoirs Of A Geisha, Arthur Golden
63. A Tale Of Two Cities, Charles Dickens
64. The Thorn Birds, Colleen McCollough
65. Mort, Terry Pratchett
66. The Magic Faraway Tree, Enid Blyton
67. The Magus, John Fowles
68. Good Omens, Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman
69. Guards! Guards!, Terry Pratchett
70. Lord Of The Flies, William Golding
71. Perfume, Patrick Süskind
72. The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists, Robert Tressell
73. Night Watch, Terry Pratchett
74. Matilda, Roald Dahl
75. Bridget Jones’s Diary, Helen Fielding
76. The Secret History, Donna Tartt
77. The Woman In White, Wilkie Collins
78. Ulysses, James Joyce
79. Bleak House, Charles Dickens
80. Double Act, Jacqueline Wilson
81. The Twits, Roald Dahl
82. I Capture The Castle, Dodie Smith, this gets all three as I intend to read it again its so lovely.
83. Holes, Louis Sachar
84. Gormenghast, Mervyn Peake
85. The God Of Small Things, Arundhati Roy
86. Vicky Angel, Jacqueline Wilson
87. Brave New World, Aldous Huxley
88. Cold Comfort Farm, Stella Gibbons
89. Magician, Raymond E Feist
90. On The Road, Jack Kerouac
91. The Godfather, Mario Puzo
92. The Clan Of The Cave Bear, Jean M Auel
93. The Colour Of Magic, Terry Pratchett
94. The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho
95. Katherine, Anya Seton
96. Kane and Abel, Jeffrey Archer
97. Love In The Time Of Cholera, Gabriel García Márquez
98. Girls In Love, Jacqueline Wilson
99. The Princess Diaries, Meg Cabot
100. Midnight's Children, Salman Rushdie

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Human After All

This weekend has not been at all what I expected, my plan originally was to hold the lan event on Saturday then on Sunday to help Jo and Holly clear their new allotment.
Friday night came around, I worked on the game server, Bruce and Phil came over so we played a few games and watched Zero Punctuation. Phil told me about the achievement servers for Team Fortress. Servers set up only to enable players to improve their ratings. I must admit it was fun burning up everything as a Pyro.
Saturday the lan went off, it was well attended with 19 of us crammed into the legion it was a fun day. The games weren't without problems Steam once again failed to work correctly, I think it might be the last time I use Steam at a lan.
It was all going great Fun that is until about 8 O'Clock when my stomach decided to start playing up. The pain was intense, and I had to leave early, it was the first event I haven't stayed through to the end. I had to get a lift home then pretty much stay in the bathroom for the next couple of hours, not a great way to spend Saturday night.
Needless to say I had to skip going round to Jo allotment and have spent the day reading and resting. I started the Brothers Karamazov Dostoevsky masterpiece. It is a bit heavy going Second only in length War and Peace so it might take a while, but if its anywhere near as good as The Idiot or Crime and Punishment then it will be well worth the effort.