Sunday, June 28, 2009

Jo Berger held a barbecue today to celebrate his birthday early this week. I picked up Phil and we headed to Levenshulme. Despite the sun shining earlier in the day while I painted my garage, when I picked up Phil it was pouring down, really tropical monsoon weather. I actually parked as close to Phil's front door as I could to avoid it. So it was with some trepidation we set off to Jo's.

Fortunately for once nature was on our side, driving 20 minutes driving towards Manchester and we were in a totally different micro climate. No rain, not exactly azure blue sky, but certainly nicer weather.

I had some home-made beef burgers which I sprinkled a bit of chilli into, they proved to be a hit with Phil and Jo. Phil spent most of the day talking to an Australian friend of Jo's. They appeared to enjoy each others company.

I had chosen to drive so I watched everyone enjoy a few drinks while I chatted and ate lots of sausages (beef no pork at this house). Later on we were treated to a tour of the new allotment. Its much better than the old plot with lots of mature trees on it. I even ate some berrys off the tree, yummy.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

21 Guns

So far I have spent my week off working on the house, threatening legal action against Aria and worrying about money. My motherboard died and Aria are refusing to replace it, despite it being inside the warranty. I have written them increasingly strongly worded letters, so far to no avail. I would certainly recommend against using this company, their customer service is terrible.

I feel disconnected from people at the moment, I'm also sick and tired of peoples advice. There are two camps, people who tell me I should get as much done beofre moving in because hte mess / hassell is increased when Im living there, and thos that tell me I wont get it done until I move in. Seeing the amount of mess made each time I start a job, I have thus far sided with the former group.

Today I spent some time burning off paint, interspersed with doing some with some gardening to bring the plants under control.  After a while stripping the paint the fumes tend to get pretty strong, not to mention the heat. I am sporting two burns already, that will teach me for being careless. I also sealed part of the garage floor. Around where I intend to site the washing machine. I  found a can of floor paint in the garage, I am unsure where it came from, answers on a postcard.

I was feeling down a long time before Steve died, but now I feel empty, and pretty frustrated. Work has been negatively impacted by the financial crisis as well as losing Steve. That together with the stress of doing up the house means I am very hard to get on with.

Monday, June 22, 2009


Today was the first day of my holidays. I got to look and smile at y work email full of dilemmas which would normally stress me out in the full knowledge that just for the moment its not MY problem :D

I spent the day working on my house, no surprises, found a really cheap place to buy bits of plastic, called scot plas in Stockport. I bought a 5 meter length (I only needed 2 meters but 5 was all they sold) to cover part of the window near my kitchen sink, it only cost £3!

I also bought a doorbell which proved a complete arse to fit, I spent most of the afternoon fitting it but eventually my dad and I got it done. We got home around 7 just time for me to walk the dog before dinner.

Phil had a van for a job tomorrow, so he called and offered to drop off a spare bit of carpet his parents didn't want. I also convinced him to help me move the bbq that has been sat outside the front of my parents house since next door but two moved away. After verything was transported we headed to the unicorn for a couple of pints. During which we tossed around the idea of holding another lan party next month.

Saturday, June 20, 2009


I have a week off work, bliss! To celebrate I got my hair cut then went to work on my house. I managed to talk Jo and Holly into coming over to help me out. In fairness I did help Jo move several tons of top soils when he moved into his house, ad I made a couple of appearances helping Together with my dada we were able to make load of progress stripping the walls.
By the time we left a significant portion of the halls stairs and landing had been cleared. I wish I could make such progress everytime.
I fell out with my dad because he decided to use the smallest brush known to man to paint, and despite the fact is a place no-one will see and its was already painted to redo a cupboard in the study. I appreciate the help but at the same tie i want to move in and not everwhere has to be done to such a high standard. This is afterall a mid terrace house not a palace.

Thursday, June 18, 2009


Stupid stupid stupid computers! Already having been forced to use an old pc thanks to the early demise of my motherboard (which Aria refuse to honour the warranty on). Now the damn hard drive in my spare pc has gone pop so I have only my 6 year old Apple powerbook and my works laptop to use. Neither is good for games ;(

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Tambourine man

Today was Steve's funeral. Quiet a few if us went to pay our respects. It was a Catholic service in Prestwich, it was a very traditional service. There were a lot of people there, his family had come from as far away as Australia to be part of the proceedings. It was amazing how much of a family resemblance there was. His son Peter is like a carbon copy of his father. Dawn, the girl who helped try and give Steve CPR came to the funeral with her husband, she seemed very upset by the proceedings.

Following the funeral we headed to the crematorium, Steve's nephew gave an excellent eulogy full of good messages from his family and colleagues. He had some excellent song choices, Pink Floyd, Bob Dylan and The rolling Stones. His nephew delivered a great eulogy recounting Steve's sense of humour, spirit and personality.

After the cremation we went back to the family house after the cremation it was a bit awkward really, I don't think any of us knew any of the family apart from Martin. Actually I particularly felt shell shocked. Mercifully the others felt the same so we did not stay too long.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009


I got absolutely soaked walking storm this evening. I could hear thunder went I left the house but I thought that I might be quick enough to avoid it. At lunch time I had been for a walk into Macclesfield, it was really hot and sunny, strange a few hours later I was stood in the community centre freezing being pelted with hailstone. Its didn't seem to bother Storm though he enjoyed playing catch in spite of the bad weather.

I watched a film call career girls. It was really a film about not much, it charted the lives of two girls who met at college. In a series of flashback you saw the shared experiences that bound two very different people together. I quiet enjoyed it as a causal watch. Filmed in 1997 it made me feel somewhat nostalgic for my own youth long lost somewhere in the late 90s.

Sunday, June 14, 2009


Bruce and I decided to forgo the sunshine and disappear into Urbis to see the Video Game Nation. Jon Hare the man behind Sensible software was giving a talk. The website said it started at 12 so we mooched down to Manchester arriving with 15 minutes to spare. In typical British fashion no-one at Urbis knew where to go, and do bear in mind that Urbis is fairly small. We were initially directed to the exhibition, only Jon Hares talk was in a different room and we were told that we had to go to the shop to buy a ticket. The girl in the shop had no idea what we were talking about and had to call on the radio to find out. She sold us the tickets but was unsure of the room to we headed to the cafe. Apparently we could have just gone there in the first place, they were even selling tickets on the door, however the talk was postponed until 2pm.
To kill time we walked around the exhibition. It was pretty interesting, it reminded me of retro games but with more explanation.
I especially like the Beneath the steel exhibit a wall full of scenes from the game. I hadnt realised how important the UK and Manchester were in the computer games arena especially in the 80s and 90s. Ocean software one of the biggest publishers lived on Deansgate, people did amazing things with the Spectrum, C64, Amiga, yet somehow the IBM PC revolution killed a lot of that home grown innovation.

Jon Hare gave a talk at 2pm, it was really interesting to hear about Sensible Software. Apparently of all the games they did Mega-lo-menia was his favorite achievement, it always brings back memories for me of Phils old house Squarefield, the Amiga and washing cars.

Jon Hare explained how they [Sensible Software] were a small team working on stuff they enjoyed in a fun atmosphere, I was so jealous! After his talk there was a sensible soccer, which actually saw him lose in the final. Ill hopefully be going again to VideoGame nation to see David Brabham creator of Elite and Frontier one of my all time favorite games.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Happiness is overrated

I'm sat at my desk enjoying a bottle of Peroni, listening to The Airborne Toxic Event, and ruminating on life. They [Airborne Toxic Event] have a couple of songs that completely encapsulate moments in my life. I have been the guy in Sometime around midnight, and felt like Happiness is overrated. While I am starting to feel normal again, I am still in a dark place. There was a while when I just felt numb, I could see his dead face every time I closed my eyes fortunately that is no longer the case.

Today I went to my house and did the usual Saturday DIY, its nice to get back into it. There still seems to be so much to do though.

Last night I went round to Bruce's. I had a terrible day at work, I am really not coping very well at the moment a lot of things are getting on top of me. Unfortunately I took this hope with me and ended up having an argument with my parents. By the time I arrived at Bruce's I felt sullen and withdrawn. Nina made dinner, spicy beef Fajitas and cheese covered nachos. It was a very tasty and I managed to relax a little. We watched the Tison documentary film, I had forgotten how awesome and ferocious a boxer he was before the rate conviction and the ear biting incidents.

While watching the film I played with their kittens and relaxed, it was nice just not to have any email answer for a few minutes. After Tison we started watching Britons hardest, it was real trash TV so I elected to head to bed.

This evening I went for a drink at the Unicorn with Bruce and Phil. The place was nearly empty. I cant imagine how they turn a profit with such slim pickings. The sign on the bar made me laugh, as well as a soup of the day they do a sausage of the day :D

Monday, June 08, 2009

Shoot the runner

I tried to pack a lot into the weekend, just to keep busy try not to dwell too much on last weeks events.

On Saturday night I went to Oasis with Phil Bruce and Nina. I had got Bruce and Phil tickets for their birthdays. In reality I wasn't really in the mood for a concert I still felt pretty numb. Nina elected to drive but as the area around Heaton
Park was closed we parked in the centre and caught the metro in.

They has a cup return policy at the bar. Each cup returned was worth 10p. Phil became the cup collection king. We got several free beers and a free pizza simply by dint of picking up cups, at one point he returned 70.

We eneded up quite far back Bruce and Nina dont realy like to get into the action and well I certinaly wasnt in the mood to be jostled by thousands of fans. The bands were all really good and mercifully the rain held off. I enjoyed singing along to the old Oasis it reminded me of happy days at school.

Andy and Emily were also at the gig and in a strange twist we met each other on the walk back to the town centre. I was spoking to Emily she had all these great stories about America and handing in her assignment while I was all drunken and dark about my week, oh dear.

Sunday night I went round to Bruces for a curry. We watched slumdog millionaire, I can see why it was so popular. Just the right mix of happyness sweet but not sacarine.

Thursday, June 04, 2009


Today was one of the most surreal of my life. After yesterdays events I was actually afraid to go into the office. They say you go through stages of grief this morning I hit denial, I saw Steve's car in the car park, took me a few minutes to process it was left overnight. My next stage was anger, a customer was hassling me and basically lost it. I should have put it off, I thought working would help.

Walking into the office was weird, the buttons from Steve shirt littered the floor. Tony arrived before me, everyone I spoke to was sad about it some of the guys have known Steve for 25 years. I found it hard to concentrate on anything really, work was more of a token gesture, I kept trying not to remember his face, terrible and swollen. The image haunts me I spoke to colleges about some of the good memories, I think its better to try and focus on that.

Dawn the women who helped us give him first aid looked terrible, we had a quick chat I tried to remind her that we did everything possible we could.

I got home, took the dog for a walk to the polling centre along with my neighbours son and my mum. We took turned to mind the dog while voting, cant believe how big the form was, 13 choices!

It was Bruce's birthday today, so he Nina and myself went out to catch the New Terminator film. It was pretty good much better than number 3 (it pretty much forgets that film existed). The only thing that let it down for me was the abysmal sugar coated scene near the end.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Unfortunately I received a phone call from my boss which confirmed Steve had in died. I'd like to pass my condolences to his wife and children, he will be sorely missed. As both a great programmer and a really nice guy, who worked hard but was also so good natured and easy going, Steve Rest in peace.


At 4.40 a guy I work with, have worked with for several years collapsed in front of my eyes. It was so sudden, he made a noise dropped to the floor and started to turn blue. I called an ambulance while some people from the office attempted to put him into the recovery position but his breathing was erratic and his skin was swollen the wrong colour. The paramedics arrive within 5 minutes and they asked us to leave while they attempted to revive him.
I felt shocked, my hands were shacking, I made a phone call to head office to get details of his next of kin for the paramedics.
Twenty minutes later they cleared out, one of the team told us it looked bad essentially he was dead, they hadn't been unable to revive him, efforts would continue at the hospital. I hold out the hope that they will be able to help him, but I the picture of how terrible he looked out of my mind.
I got a lift home, now I feel terrible I've never witnessed anything like it, was so shocking. He had been fine all day we even went together to get a sandwich, I still cannot believe it.