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.