Sunday, September 25, 2011


Thanks to the iFixit Nexus S teardown I managed to replace the screen in my Samsung Nexus S.I managed to drop and smash the screen after my phone fell from my top pocket onto the kitchen floor while I was feeding the cat. I always think that the insurance is overpriced (though I have subsequently subscribed to protect your bubble for my phone and Ipad). It took my about 2 hours to do the repair and I made one small mistake which has meant the the home key doesn't always light up. However given it cost £90 for a replacement screen I think I made the best of a bad job and have a working smart phone again.

Butterflies & Hurricanes

I am trying to catch up on some blogs, a couple of weeks ago I went to a wedding in Poland. I left on Thursday 9th September, flying to Warsaw where I met up with Kath and her friend Mike. He gave us a lift to the apartment he shares with his wife Karolina, and their kitty Helmut. They live in Legionowo about 45 minute drive from Warsaw. It is a really nice apartment, spacious with a balcony at the front and back. Karolina was working so we chilled round at the house listened to some music and Mike made dinner. Mike made a very tasty spaghetti bolognese. Helmut kitty kept us amused he is a little kitten full of beans chasing everything around the flat. The weather was terrible so Mike was to pick up Karolina after work so Kath and I took he opportunity for a nap. When hey arrived back we opened up a bottle of gin, then spent the evening chatting drinking and having a good time. The next day way Goofys wedding so we set out from Legionowo to Bialystock. They drive was long punctuated by Helmut kitty climbing about the car eventually falling asleep at my feet, and Mike shouting Whore at all the prostitutes stood at the roadside. Kath and I were dropped off at her place, we had some lunch and got ready for the wedding. The Church was only a few minutes walk away so we wondered over in time to see everyone outside. Inside the Onion-domed Russian Orthodox Church there were no pews, so we all stood. The service was in Russian and Polish so I had no idea what was going on but then neither did some of the Poles. It was a different experience, the only thing I knew about Orthodox ceremonies was what I remembered from Pierre and Natasha's wedding in War and Peace. So details like the groomsmen of which Mike was one, having to hold crowns above the head of the bride and groom. After the ceremony we went outside to watch the release of balloons and doves then queued to give our wishes to the newly-weds. Then we hopped on the bus heading to the reception. The reception was very different to a British one. There was lots of food, lots of vodka and no speeches. Essentially people mingled and danced, eating and drinking all night. Kath and I were seated on on a table with Goofy's friends. I got to know Kaths cousin Tomek and his wife Agnieszka. Also a couple who used to working London Mirka and Kamil and Ula and Grzesiek. Tomek told me an interesting story about the stag do, which I couldn't possible broadcast in this blog, to those that know "you animal" is all I can say... I also briefly met Goofys sister Maria and her husband Łukasz who seemed to bear the brunt of some of the jokes. Apparently after the stag do he got so drunk he left for a taxi only was so drunk he tried to pay with receipts and ended up having to raise his wife (and mother in law) to pay. The reception was really nice, I enjoyed it greatly. Met lots of people including reputedly a secret service person. I learned the secret of drinking vodka, I.E. don't take the whole shot each toast and make sure to eat. When we left Goofy made us drink a "traditional 9 shots" fortunately for us he could only remember 4 of them. The next day we got up early to catch a train to Warsaw, and then to Krakow where my flight home was leaving from. Travelling by rain in Poland is an experience. They are old and slow and this one had a hole for the toilet! Was weird to watch the tracks below. Sitting opposite us on the train was a very strange character. I think he was still drunk and he talked about all sorts to us. Eventually he reviled that he was a famous Polish conductor Tadeusz Kozłowski. I didn't really believe him but we googled him later and the picture matched. He was from Lodz which I learned is Polish for boat so when talking you need to be careful because people might think you came from a boat trip not from a place. I love Krakow, and when we arrived the sun was bright and the sky blue. We had a room for the evening above a nice bar (thought it was noisy when we were trying to sleep later). After a day of travelling there wasn't much time to do much other than have dinner a quick wonder around the square then to bed, in time to get up for the flight in the morning. Kath came with me to the airport then we said goodbye. I checked in and waited to fly, then just as I was getting onto the aircraft I got stung by a wasp. It really hurt leaving the stinger in place. The crew didn't have any tweezers so I had to get it out myself and spend the flight with a swollen throbbing hand. I wasn't the only one with problems one of the passengers had a problem they took him to the front to lie down, and made a call to see if there was a doctor on the flight. Amazingly there was both a doctor and a nurse, they gave him oxygen and laid him flat. It appeared he was with a group of men so had probably been over indulging on alcohol. By the time we landed he was feeling good enough to sit up and stop the oxygen. My dad picked me up from Liverpool and I headed home. I got a text from Paul he was up north having a drink with Ian and Jo in Bramhall. I was tired and my hand still hurt but I decided it would be good to meet them for a drink. Met them in Tiger Tiger for a drink and a chat mostly about their respective wedding plans and iapds. Paul could be a salesman for Apple! Rachel Ian's girlfriend. Ian, Paul and Rachel decided to get some food, I had eaten as had Jo so we headed our separate ways.

The Muse

Had a funny day yesterday. Jonno popped round and asked if I would help him choose a laptop. As he was interested in the budget end of the market and wanted to pay in cash PC World seemed like the best choice. So we headed off to Stockport and had a look around. They had a LENOVO G575 15.6" 4GB Ram 500GB hard disk for £299 which seemed like a good spec for that price point. Unfortunately after finally tracking down a sales rep he informed us that they had none in stock. They did he assured us have one in Aston. So back in the car heading up the motorway to Ashton, only to find we had been sold a dummy. We were pretty pissed off the salesman at Aston suggesting that the Stockport saleman should have rung through for us. He assured us that they had 34 at the Arndale centre. So off again this time to the centre of Manchester. I don't think Jonno had ever been to the Arndale centre before, its very busy and crowded. Fortunately this time they did have the laptop in stock. It still took a while to buy though the sales guy trying to sell the usual insurance, which we declined. I made the point if he wanted such insurance it would be a lot cheaper to add to his home insurance. We headed back armed with a new laptop, 3g dongle and a mouse. I unboxed it, removed a top of useless pre-installed software and put on the free Microsoft anti virus security essentials. I was quite impressed with the Laptop, the screen was bright and clear with 1366 x 768 resolution and LED backlight. The full sized keyboard was easy too type on. Overall considering the budget price the build quality was good and the speed more than acceptable for browsing and office tasks. Afterwards I sat with Jonno and helped him to set up an email account and a Facebook page. In return Jonno treated me for dinner at the Bull's Head which was very nice. I had a chicken on a bed of Choritzo and sweet potato mash. It was very tasty just a pity that they were understaffed an the food took an age to arrive.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

Today was very average, this evening was exceptional, but not in a good way. I got home had a sit down and started to chat to Kath on skype then the door bell rang. Half expecting to see my mum I rang down and opened the door to find my neighbour. He started asking me where the panel was, I had no idea what on earth he was talking about. He kept saying it was in my garage and I had to give it to him. It took me a while to comprehend what he was talking about, finally I started to piece it together. He was talking about fencing panels. Last summer I replaced three of the that were damaged. It cost £55 Nick gave me a lift to Stacks to pick them up. I also painted them with Ronseal. The fence is 5 panels in total but two were ok so they didn't replace them. At the time the neighbour seemed grateful to Nick and I asked how much it cost and gave me some money towards them. At the time I thought it was a nice gesture, after all he offered I never asked. If only I had realised, I would never have excepted! Anyway back to this evening, the neighbour was getting more and more irate insisting that he had seen four panels and that I was hiding one from him. I decided to call his bluff went upstairs found the receipt and showed it too him. It showed the date, the number of panels (3) and the price. At this point I expected an apology, I didn't get one! He insisted I was ripping him off that the receipt was a forgery and that I was a cheat and a liar. At this point I had enough, so I pulled out £20 and told him he could have his money back. At this point he was really super angry and went for me with his cane (my neighbour is an old chap). I dodged and told him is he tried it again I was calling the police, I handed him the money again and he stomped off. I rang my dad, first thing he told me was I should have asked for a receipt for the money second that I should just ignore him. He also asked me if I had seen the fence, I admitted that I hadn't. Apparently my mum had already mentioned to dad that it appeared like the bottom panel was disappearing piece by piece, it looks as if he has been tearing it down one piece at a time. What a crazy guy, nothing like good neighbours. No doubt they will tell all of the other neighbours his twisted version of events. They are a retired couple with nothing better to do than sit around and complain about everything. I doubt anyone is good enough to live in their precious neighbourhood. Kath thinks that he must have dementia and might not even remember. I was so angry afterwards I went for a walk then for beer in the bulls head with Phil. Phil seemed good, busy with work.

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Neighborhood #3 (Power Out)

I am trying out the new blogger interface, its very slick, web 2.0 all the way! I am still way behind on the blogging. Kath was in the UK for the long weekend. The weather was typical Manchester rain so we didn't get out much. We did however visit a serious amount shopping. Kath needed a dress for Goofys upcoming wedding. I was a dutiful shopping asstant and after much searching we finally found a very pretty dress for her at M&S. Apart from that we watched a few films including Toy Story 3 which I liked, NEDS which was good if depressing and the killer inside me. The Killer inside me is pretty horrific, told in the first person we follow a killer who beats to death (in a very graphic way) his lover player by Jessica Alba. It actually quite depressed me, I can't quite believe that someone could happily beat their partner to death then the next morning go make a cup of coffee whistling away. So much that I actually started reading up on antisocial personality disorder, and yes some pyschopaths can behave exactly like that. Theirs brains are essentially wired differently, they feel no remorse, the concept is alien to them. Dr Robert Hare, professor of psychology at the University of British Columbia believes there might be a significant proportion of the population who are Psychopaths. So most of them are able to function in society unbound by the moral rules which chain us, quiet scary really but they I think I have met a few people like that in my career. From Psychopaths to nights out. I had a bit of a windfall yesterday, due to work commitments I landed a couple of free tickets to see Arcade Fire at the MEN. I only had one evening to find someone to go with so posted on Facebook, Danny was the first response so spare ticket went his way. I met him in Manchester, after taking the train in. I hit 1000 check-ins on foursquare buying a sandwich from the Coop. Danny met me near Victoria station, he was slightly out of sorts thanks to a bout of "man flu". Been a while since I had been out with him in a setting where we could actually talk and was good to be reminded what good company he can be. Full of his usual exploits including an alleged menage a trois following a stag party at Bredbury Hall. We were seated up in the gods on the second row to the back. This actually didn't turn out two bad given the band had everyone out of their seats. The Setlist was excellent, full of energy really getting the crowd going on Wake up, Mountains beyond mountains and Powerout. The band consisted of eight members playing varying different instruments singing dancing cavorting backed up with some amazing keyboard and guitars sounds. It was almost like being at some sort of post modern orchestra. They are certainly different than the usual indie band! It was a really good gig, I enjoyed it very much and still have Sprawl II and Wake up running round my head.