Sunday, December 27, 2009

No good deed

Just got back from seeing Andy and Emily. Had a bit of an eventful journey, I offered to drop Andy's sister off as Boxing day buses arn't the best. Unfortunately her road turned out to be rather so icy that when I tried to turn round I ended up stuck on the ice. Fortunately as the temperature is above zero I was able to melt it with several kettles of hot water.

I was an interesting evening, we ate cheese and pigs in blankets while setting up the Play station 3 which Andy and Emily got themselves for Christmas. After setting it up, downloading a massive update for the Playstation and installing Batman Arkham Asylum. its a really good game though seemed a lot of prelude before the actual game began.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Playing catch in the snow

Playing catch in the snow
Originally uploaded by j0hncooke

Storm enjoying catch on a snowy Woodford community centre

Oh Sailor

Christmas day, the first I have had in the UK for two years, the last two I celebrated on the slopes of France. Today it was my parents, and grandmother for a full turkey dinner with all the trimmings; roast potatoes, parsnips, gravy cranberry sauce, peas swede, carrots, stuffing, and sausage wrapped in bacon. It was incredibly tasty, especially my dads home-made chestnut and bacon stuffing, mmm.

After lunch I took Storm out for a walk, its so nice seeing him. It has been just under a year since he came to live with my parents. Strange how things change, my parents would never have gone out and got a dog, never mind one so large as Storm. Growing up we had cats, but after the last one died they didn' make any moves to get another pet. Yet thanks to a mix of circumstance Storm came to live with us and he is great. I have really enjoyed spending time with him, going on walks. I have missed him greatly since moving out. I would in some ways have like to bring him with me here, but given I have to work during the day I don't think it would have been fair on him.

This evening I have nothing to do really I am just chilling out and chatting to Kath online.
I went out to celebrate Christmas Eve in Bramhall with Nick, Ian Bruce and Sambo. We started in the New Victoria pub. They have basically given the Orange Tree a facelift and re-nanmed it as a pub, I quite enjoyed it we had a good chat and a laugh trying to make Nick feel ill recounting stories of peoples injuries. Sambo kicked it off telling us that he had helped a girl home after she feel over on the ice (the high-heels and intoxication level didn't help) landing on her face.
We had tickets to Beluga, stopping for a swift drink at Nappa on route. Beluga was dead though they didn't even bother to check the tickets. Sambo rather jokingly asked for a refund and in the spirit of Christmas the bar manager gave us all a refund :) It was so quite there were almost more staff than customers, and around 12 the doorman announced that they were closing early.
Bruce gave us a lift home and I finished the evening watching the Matrix Revolution and drinking G & T. Near the end of the film I started hearing weird noises outside, banging and scraping. My neighbours across the road were clearing ice off the drive to try and get their car on it. They tried for about 15 - 20 minutes before giving up and parking on the road (where there was plenty of space!) who knows why they felt the need to take sure measures when in the middle of the night on Christmas Eve.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Folding Chair

It was nice to have a day off totally work free. I was planning to sleep in late but was woken by an excited Kath. The flowers I sent her for Christmas had arrived at 7, it was a little surprise for her and she was very happy which was great. As I was up I decded to do some cleaning in the kitchen then going out to Wilmslow to have a browse around. In the afternoon I went round to my parents house and took Storm out for a walk, I miss him was nice to have a game of catch on the snowy ground.
I made a spicy Bolognese style sauce which was the first thing I have made with my dad actually agreed tasted good, I guess I must be getting a bit better at this cooking lark.
I am going out tonight with Nick, Ian and Bruce. We have decided to try the new Pub in Bramhall, should be a fun evening.

Happy Christmas Everyone!

Sunday, December 20, 2009


I went to see Avatar tonight with Bruce. It is a visually stunning film, the first I have seen in 3D. It really wowed me, the alien landscape of the planet Pandora, the forests were incredible eery and simply stunning. Certainly Avatar brings CGI to a totally new level, in a way George Lucas tried [and failed] with the Star Wars prequels.

Unfortunately I found the plot somewhat formulaic, basically it seemed to me to be the last Samurai set in an alien landscape with added themes of love and the typical Hollywood ending. Why is it no matter what the weapons, or creatures every battle has to end mano-a-mano? As soon as I saw the Colonel I knew it had to end up in a showdown between them.

The movie opens at the funeral of the brother of the main protagonist who is recruited by a company to go in his brothers place. His brother was an Avatar pilot, basically he controls an alien creature in an effort to learn more about them. The aliens the Na'vi are humanoid, Aboriginals who have a symbiotic relationship with the forest they live in. Unfortunately the company has detected an ore steam underneath the Na'vi's home and well how are a bunch of blue aliens to stand in the ay of progress. The protagonist Jake is sent in Avatar form and manages to bond with the daughter of the clan leader before long though he starts to question his humanity and becomes more and more bonded with the Na'vi eventually united all the tribes and leading a revolt against the humans.

Overall I have seen these themes from Avatar so many times, and while the film is enjoyable and dazzles the sense it could have done so much more. That said James Cameron is certainly a slick and accomplished director its well directed if a bit long and it simply has to be watched for the amazing visuals and it has all the turn mind of feel good moments you could ever want from a Hollywood blockbuster.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Enjoy the silence

The one big problem I have post move in is a severe lack of money. Over a year of working being paid a four day week yet while renovating a house have decimated my savings and eaten into all my accounts so now I am pretty much broke. On paper I have more than I started out with (including of course a lovely home) unfortunately I have hit a cashflow crisis.

I have been job hunting for the last few months and yesterday was offered two jobs yesterday unfortunately neither of them are really suitable. The first sound like an amazing job only slight problem after 6 months the job was moving to Telford. Not really commutable and not a place I have a desire to move to. The second job would be a bit of a gamble, and no extra money in the short term so little point in moving and losing my job security.

It had been a bit of an emotional day, my parents invited me round to eat with them, and test out their new oven. We had a nice dinner together, and I gave storm some attention, I really miss him.

I came back to my place, alone chatted to Kath online she helped cheer me up a bit pointing out all the good things I have achieved this year. Working on the house, changing things in my life, moving out.

Kath also gave me an itinerary for my Polish excursion.
Arrive around 9pm on 29th spend the evening watching a film and having a rest
30th A short tour around the city and in the evening we'll go out somewhere
31st New year's eve in company of my friends in [her friend] Carolines hometown
1st Get back and chill out
2nd Head for Gdansk so we could spend a day and a half in there hopefully

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Killing in the name of

I have ben really busy of late, I've had so many things to write about but somehow have been to busy / tired / lazy to blog. Hopefully I can get back into the habit.

My parents came for a meal tonight. I prepared a chicken curry with vegetables. I thought that it would be really nice, and it was mostly unfortunately I was a bit rushed and cooked got it  bit wrong though the potatoes were a little overcooked.

Its pretty strange living alone after all these years there are great things the freedom is awesome. The last couple of weeks I had Kath staying with me. We had a wonderful time together, I was very sad to say goodbye to her to the Airport yesterday. Fortunately it wont be long until we see each other again as I am heading to Poland for the New Year.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Graduate premium

According to the BBC an average graduate will earn only £100,000 more than non graduates over their working lives. Given the cost of going to University leaves the average student £20,000 in debt it does beg the question are degrees really worth it?
For one reason or another I was a bit of an underachiever at University and my degree failed to open the doors I expected and I am still repaying the debt. Looking at how well some of my friends have got on without going to university I do wonder whether I would have done better to have gone directly into the workplace.