Tuesday, 29 May 2007

Where'd the weekend go

It was a constructive weekend, but it seemed to go quite quickly.
I built wardrobes, put up pictures, visited Ikea (!) and spent a nice weekend with my inlaws.
But I can't believe its Tuesday already. Still, Im officially off work Wednesday, Thursday and Friday as Im decorating for two of the days and playing golf on one of them. I went to the golf range on Monday to make sure I could still hit a ball (not very well... Thursday is gonna be interesting) and Im looking forward to playing and seeing my playing partner again. (Its been a few weeks).
I dont mind the decorating - once I actually get started and get into it, it doesn't take me long. I should be able to finish the room at least by the end of the weekend.
I've also started re-reading "World War Z" by Max Brooks... it wasn't that long ago that I read it, but its such a good read and really gets the nerves tingling because of the style in which its written - its so beliveable.
Anyway, I know I haven't posted for a few days, but there's not much else to say today... so have a good day all, and I'll try and post more while Im off work.

Thursday, 24 May 2007

Is it just me...

...or do I get overly annoyed by customer call centres? I have been trying to get through to a customer service centre for a well known building society, but its always busy. I ring the number I've been given, to be told "sorry, we dont deal with that here, you need to call xxxxxxxxxxxx"
But, of course, when I do ring that number Im first told "Thank you for calling, all our advisors are busy, we will try and connect you" then inflicted with some crappy muzak. Then, a second message says "Your call is important to us please hold" (if my call is important then ANSWER THE F*CKIN PHONE!) followed by more crappy muzak. (You haven't heard Livin' La Vida Loca properly 'til you've heard it as though you were stood in a lift). And then nothing. Just constant hold with crappy muzak. Being on hold for 10 minutes doesn't sound like a long time - but when you're just sat there on the phone it really is... so I end up swearing loudly and hanging up.
I mean, I dont know whats happening to my call... am I in a queue? Have I been transferred to a big room with one phone and no one else in it, just ringing constantly off the hook? Am I stuck in an endless loop, bouncing around withing the circuits and cables of this building society's phone system? And of course I am at work, so I can't really spend ages trying to get through to these arseholes, which means I have to try from home in the evening taking up MORE time.
*sigh* It is just me isn't it, no one else gets wound up by these things?

Anyway - its my Friday today (working from home tomorrow) and then a long weekend.
Have a great bank holiday all, and if I can post anything interesting I will do so over the weekend.

Wednesday, 23 May 2007

Where's all the money gone

Its been ages since I found any money in the street. A couple of years ago, it seemed you were always hearing stories of people finding bank notes lying on the floor. My dad, for example, once found a £50 note lying in a garage forecourt. On more than one occasion I have found £10 notes lying on the ground. But, its been ages since I, or anyone I know, has found any. People must be holding on to their money alot tighter these days.
Champions League final tonight between Liverpool and AC Milan. I suppose I should support the English side, but I have family connections in Milan so I think I'll be part of the rossoneri tonight. Im also having a couple of friends round to watch it, and we're treating ourselves to a ruby which we haven't done for a while.
Its a lovely day again today - but Im sat at my desk freezing cold, because the stupid air conditioning in this building sucks. I sit right under one of the air con. vents, and it blows out a constant breeze of cold air... my hands keep going numb its so cold.
Oh, and I watched Hot Fuzz last night... not as good as Shaun of the Dead, but still a good film, good laugh, and the bit with the church spire was very cool....
Anyway, at time of writing I have an hour and a half before I can go home for the day - have a good rest of the day all, more stuff tomorrow.

Tuesday, 22 May 2007

The sun's out

The weather is very nice today - but typically, the hottest day of this week is supposed to be Thursday, when I usually play football. D'oh!
Very proud of Jake last night - he was asked to train with the age group above his at Watford last night. Only him and three others got asked to do it. I didnt go last night (it wasn't my turn) but by all accounts he acquited himself well and didnt look out of place at all. It shows he's making good progress.
I am SO bored at work at the moment. There are no projects on the go (apart from little annoying ones) and Im spending too much time at my desk trying to find work. This keeps happening here, and its one of the things that could really drive me to look elsewhere.
Not much else going on in my little world really... Barclays have 9 days left to respond to my claim online (which they probably will do) which then means they have another 14 days to submit a defence. Again, this probably will happen because it seems this is happening to most people who submit a claim against Barclays.
Oh, and I've made a mistake with my choice of mobile phone. I've gone right off it. Unfortunately though, I can't upgrade my handset without paying £200(!) OR if I want to leave my service provider and go somewhere else I have to buy my way out of my contract which is £426! Ouch. I guess Im gonna have to put up with it for a while.

Monday, 21 May 2007

A productive weekend

Not just a weekend of sitting on my arse for a change. Admittedly Saturday afternoon was spent in front of the TV watching the cup final (snore...) but Sunday I stripped out Jake's bedroom furtniture, dismantled it, took it to the tip, built a new chest of drawers for him AND made tea!
Although its a bit tiring when you're rushing around busy on a weekend, it doesn't half make you feel good when you accomplish stuff. This is one of the reasons I no longer stay in bed at weekend until gone 10.00. Not that I would be allowed to of course.
No plans for this week at the moment, apart from watching the Champions League final on Wednesday night. Oh, and working from home on Friday.
And I still can't get the idea of getting a second car out of my head. A mini or MGB... its SO tempting, and its almost as though there are two people in my head arguing the case for and against. This is a dangerous time, because with things like this a lot of the time the voice who's arguing for the idea usually wins... I will have to be careful.

Have a good week all.

UPDATE: Soundtrack of the day: "Minutes To Midnight" - Linkin Park's new one...

Friday, 18 May 2007

Acceptance of peoples short comings

I read a comment on another blog this morning. The blogger had posted that they were wondering why a dry cleaners could not give back their clothes clean, when thats their job. Someone had commented saying basically "maybe its your fault" etc. but the final message was "its that sense of entitlement that gets people into trouble". Bull. This is one of the problems with society - people are too ready to excuse those things that they should reasonably expect of any given service.
I mean, if YOU gave something to a dry cleaners, and they gave it back dirty, would you not think "hang on, thats not what I pay you for". This company has set themselves up, and advertised, as dry cleaners. You should be able to reasonably expect them to clean the items you give them. And if they dont, then how can they call themselves dry cleaners?
You could say they same thing of mechanics who dont fix your car as expected, customer service centres / teams who dont give you, the customer, good service. Or postal / delivery companies who dont post / deliver your goods on time. COMPLAIN people! I hear alot of noise about the British being a nation of moaners and complainers, but f*ck me if I dont get what I expect from an individual OR company, (especially if Im paying for the privilage) I make sure they know about it. There is nothing wrong with doing that. If you let them get away with it, they will keep doing it and more people will be affected. First up against the wall when the revolution comes, Im tellin' ya...


Im bored with my car

I like my car. Its reliable, comfortable, easy to drive and has all the mod cons I need. But God is it dull. When I bought it, I wasn't fussed about what car I got as long as it was modern (I had previously driven scrap heaps on wheels) and reliable. And it is. But I miss my old cars.
I want either a late 90's Mini Cooper (Sports Pack). Or an MGB GT or MGB Roadster. The problem with these cars, of course, is that they are old and come with all the problems of older cars. Unreliable in hot / cold weather, no air-con, rust on the body work etc. etc. but at least (in my mind) they have character. And Im worried, because I keep looking at car ads on line and in magazines and getting ever so tempted to blow two or three grand on getting one anyway and keeping it as a run about. This would NOT be a good idea, but those of you who know me well know that this has never stopped me doing certain things in the past. I just hope Im strong willed enough to resist.

Thursday, 17 May 2007

Nearly the weekend

So I've submitted my online claim against Barclays to recover my bank charges.
I did receive a letter from the bank, offering me around two thirds of the total, but it came too late, and so I have filed the claim online. I have also written back to Barclays explaining that I would not accept their offer and I would be submitting my claim.
The total Im claiming of is... well, lets just say its four figures. So if things go well it'll be a nice little amount for me.
Sandwich of the day: Rosemary coated roast pork on wholemeal bread. Very nice.
Things are quiet at work again today... projects I am on are kind of on hold on in testing, so I can't interfere with the code. I have brought my own laptop in with me today, so I will be taking some time to play with Windows Vista and getting to grips more with it.
Plans for the rest of the week: Football tonight, drinkies on Friday night, FA Cup Final on Saturday, sitting on my arse on Sunday.
Oh, and I've also been pigeon killing this morning... satisfying my bloodlust!

Wednesday, 16 May 2007

The worlds a scary place

I watched a Sky plus'd edition of Crimewatch last night. It made the world seem such a nasty place. Stories of killings, beatings, rape, robbery... is it any wonder that society has changed from how it used to be in the 30's 40's and 50's, with people trusting each other and looking out for each other, to now with people looking out for themselves and their own and not giving a toss about other people? There is no respect between people anymore. Watching the program last night, it made me want to lock my family and I away until Jake was a grown man, just to protect him from the world. Its a nasty place out there. There was a story of a man who saw a bus driver being harrased by four people, three of which around 15 or 16 years old. He was a copper in his 50's, and even though he was on his own, he stepped up and decided to put a stop to what was going on. He ended up with a kicking and a broken jaw for his trouble. I mean, if this is the sort of thing that happens when you try and help someone, is it any wonder that people take the "cross over the other side" approach to people in trouble? Im not a hard man, and Im not particularly brave, but I would like to think if I saw someone, especially someone vulnerable, being picked on or in trouble I would step in and help. But where could that leave me? Beaten up? Stabbed? Shot? I wish there was a solution to this, but I think society in general is only ever going to get worse, and I fear for my son and his friends as to what sort of world they are inheriting. Anyway - no real point to the post today, just wanted to sound off.
Soundtrack of the day: "Empire" by Kasabian.

Tuesday, 15 May 2007

No energy

Worked from home today. I have no energy recently, just feel very flat.
I think I need a holiday - but the thing is, when I have time off there's always things to do, so I never get to just rest and do naff all.
Im supposed to be going out for someone's leaving do on Friday night, but in all honesty I really can't be arsed. Its such a hassle going out nowdays... I'd rather just come home and relax.
Not much going on this week apart from that - maybe playing football on Thursday.
Funnily enough I did have a soundtrack of the day: The Beatles various albums today.
Oh, and I have a confession. I haven't been able to abstain from alcohol all month as I had hoped - but I HAVE cut down a great deal compared to what I was drinking. If I can keep everything in moderation I think things will be better than if I just binged all the time.
I'll update more tomorrow when hopefully I'll have more energy.

Monday, 14 May 2007


This month seems to be taking ages to go. Its only the 14th today, but it feels like it should be nearly June.
The coaches didn't win our tournament yesterday. It was a fairly miserable day weatherwise, but thats no excuse. We just couldnt get going. We lost two, drew one and won one. The result didn't really matter, I just enjoy getting out and playing whenever I can because I know at my age I dont have that many decent years left in me.
Jake has Watford training again tonight, and its my turn to drive to Osterley and back. Its a crappy journey but these things we do for our offspring.
And, finally, the football season is now over. It finished yesterday, and the only things left to play out are the FA Cup Final on Saturday, and the promotion playoffs.
I have a feeling this week is going to be a quiet one because I am not exactly flush this month and there are no plans that I know of. Have a good day all.

Saturday, 12 May 2007


Jake's team won the tournament today! His team won all four group games (1 - 0, 2 - 0, 3 - 0, 2 - 0) and then one on penalties in the semi final. Then, in the final, the last kick of the game saw J.J. Coops score the winner. Everyone of course was ecstatic, and the boys really deserved it. Now I can relax tonight at dinner with my parents and sister, and Im playing in a mini tournament tomorrow with some of the other PinnStars coaches against some of the older boys of PinnStars (U-16, U-17). Should be good fun, as long as it doesn't pi$$ down!
Anyway, a good day today so far and hopefully a good night tonight. More updates tomorrow listing my injuries and how we coaches get on!

Thursday, 10 May 2007

Im in the wrong job

£235! Thats how much the electrician cost me last night.
First problem, I booked him for between 3.30 and 4.30 - and he turned up at 7.00. Then, proceeded to be the worlds SLOWEST electrician in existence. You know the sort of thing - not rushing, taking each bit step by step, calling me upstairs to check every little thing... no wonder it took him two hours. Sometimes I just wanted to scream "Hurry the f*ck up, dont you know this is costing me money!" (Of course he knew). But how about this - how about a system where instead of being charged by the hour, you have a price to start with and for every minute he takes to finish the job you take off £1? You'd see a lot quicker work then wouldn't you... no stopping to chat and ask me who I support, just in, tools out, diagnose, fix, naff off.
Found a cool site on another blog I read: XKCD
I am mostly working on a Java project today, so hopefully I'll be busy enough to make the day go quick and then playing football tonight. No plans for tomorrow, Jake has a football tournament Saturday morning, and then its the last day of the season on Sunday, so I'll be sat in front of the tube watching the scores come in.
No soundtrack of the day selected yet, but Im thinking Rage Against The Machine...

Wednesday, 9 May 2007

Black Books

I watched the first series of Black Books last night. For those who dont know, its a sit-com starring Dylan Moran, Bill Bailey and Tamsin Greig, based in a book shop called (funnily enough) Black Books.
I had heard of it, and I like Bill Bailey, but I'd never watched it before last night and I have to say I found it hilarious. Isn't it great when you discover something like that? I bought all three series, so now I've seen the first I have II and III to look forward to. But it got me thinking. Dylan Moran's character is rude, arrogant, usually drunk, aggresive and short tempered. There is huge comedy value in this. He is rude to his friends, very rude to his customers, doesn't seem to give a toss about selling books from his shop, and it makes great watching. So why, when I am rude, or short with people, or bad tempered, am I called horrible and nasty and grumpy? Why isn't there comedy value in what I do? The only time it seems to be funny is if Im putting someone down (i.e. someone I know and like and Im doing it in a jokey way) and I use a good witticism. Is it that tabboo kind of thing where people wish they could react in a certain way but society would frown upon it? And following on from that, am I not giving people what they want if I'm like that? It would seem not judging by the tears of our receptionist this morning when I told her she looked like a turd in a wig when she said something out of turn. (That's a joke by the way - our receptionist is lovely, and I DIDN'T say any such thing).
Anyway. Maybe I need to get on TV before my smart arse comments and faintly witty put downs are accepted as entertainment. But thats not gonna happen is it.
Finally, a personal message to GP (you know who you are) - Where's your blog??

Soundtrack of the day: "Music From Big Pink" by The Band
"New Moon" by Elliot Smith

Tuesday, 8 May 2007

Not much going on

I have been moaning about being quiet on the project front - and when I opened my email today I had three things that have been dropped in my lap to look at! D'oh!
So now I have lots of work and am getting stressed about delivering on time. I think I've said before, as surprising as it is, I take pride in my work and I know Im bloody good at my job. So, I always try and deliver projects on time and get stressed when things outside my control influence that in a negative way.
Anyway. Suffice to say Im gonna be plowing through work this week, which is good as it makes the day go quicker.
Events this week? My parents birthdays (11th and 12th). Dinner with my sister and parents this weekend to celebrate them getting another year older. And I think Im playing in a mini 5-a-side tournament this Sunday linked to Jake's football team. Details are still sketchy at the moment hence the confusion.
Oh, and the bloody shower at home has started shorting out and flipping the circuit breaker in the fuse box whenever we use it. ggrrrr. This means I need to find an electrician and get a quote and get it fixed and spend LOADS of money. Owning a house can suck sometimes. Oh for the days of living at home with parents in blissful ignorance only having to worry about little things like homework etc.
Soundtrack of the day: "Volta" by Bjork. (She's mental, she is. But she makes good toons).

Monday, 7 May 2007

The weekend rant

Now you honestly didn't think I would get through this weekend without SOMETHING winding me up did you? Well there was more than one something. In a word? Caravans.
I HATE staying in caravans. The rest of the weekend was good fun, especially for the boys, and really enjoyable. But the worst part by far was staying in the caravan. The walls are so thin they could be made from those plastic tea trays. Because of this, they have no insulation and so in the morning its like the arctic circle in there. And the roof was also made of the same flimsy stuff by the sound of it - do you know what it sounds like when you're lying in bed at 05.00 in the morning and you have crows and seagulls landing on a plastic roof? Its like the Alfred Hitchcock film "Birds"... I woke up thinking there was a bird in the bloody bedroom with us (and I dont mean the missus).
But even that would be bearable if it werent for the fact that I didnt get much sleep because of the God awful noise throughout the night. The bar on site didnt kick out until 01.00 and so from then you had pi$$ed up people walking back to their caravans singing, screaming, laughing... Good God. And of all the people to play a practical joke on, do you think I would be the worst, knowing my mood and temper? Let me tell you a little story.
Its about 23.30 - Im asleep. Our bed in the caravan is right by the bedroom window. All of a sudden Im woken by two women laughing and chatting, and what sounds like something being dragged across the grass right outside the back of our caravan. (Bear in mind the thinness of the walls - it sounds like they are actually in the room with us). Suddenly there is a bump against the wall of our caravan, and I think "no, thats out of order - it dont want to happen again". A couple of minutes later another bump. "Right - thats it" I think. I get up, get dressed, and go out to find out what they are doing out there. As I go to open the door... I find I can't. Something is holding it closed. Wait for it...
Cling film. The bloody women had wrapped cling film round the caravan. (Its OK, I can hear you laughing). At the sound of the door being unlocked the two pi$$ heads ran off laughing, so when I had finally forced the door open I went out to find them. I found one of them a couple of minutes later and Im embarrased to admit I went off on one a bit. "What the f*** do you think you're doin' with that cling film, you've frightened the life out of my 8 year old son" (they hadn't - Jake slept right through it all!) "You've woken me and my wife up, its a f***in' joke" etc.
To be fair to the woman, she was very apologetic - they had actually got the wrong caravan and were trying to play a joke on one of their friends... but it had to happen to me didnt it?
I'll be honest, its the sort of joke I'd play on someone I knew, it was quite funny afterwards... but at the time I was not the happiest of bunnies.
Combine that with the fact that at just after 01.00 Sunday morning the caravan behind us was invaded by a group of them back from the bar singing and screaming, and then being woken up at 05.00 by the invasion of the birds from hell I got a total of about 4 hours sleep that night.
Caravans? You can keep 'em.

Runners Up

Well. A mixed weekend really. Jake's team (Pinnstars FC) had 5 group games to get through with the top two teams getting to the final. They had 3 games on Saturday and 2 on Sunday, and if they were successful then the final would also be on the Sunday. They didnt play too well on the Saturday really... they can and have played better. The results were won one, drew one, and lost one. This meant that they really had their work cut out to get to the final on Sunday. They had to win both their games (the last being against the team top of the group) and hope another result went their way. And you know what? They did it. They won the first 1 - 0, and then against the top team they went 1 - 0 down before coming back to win 2 - 1 with a real gutsy, confident performance. Just like the Pinnstars of a few weeks ago. So into the final.
And they lost 1 - 0. It was such a shame. The final was against the team they had just beaten, but I think that the performance took quite a bit out of the boys and they just couldnt raise their game enough. The goal that was scored against them was a fluke to be honest, a long range shot that looped in, and the other team didnt really threaten their goal, so it was a tight game... but it was not to be. It was a shame of course, but considering their performance on Saturday we were all so very proud of them for even reaching the final. Still, not too bad - two away tournaments and two finalists trophies (they did the same last year in Clacton).
Well done Pinnstars Under 8's!

Friday, 4 May 2007

Half day

Only working half a day today, this weekend is Jake's football tournament in Weymouth.
For me, (as I get in so early) that means I can leave at about 11.00, which is nice.
We'll pick Jake up from school at lunchtime then its off we go.
Im hoping the weekend goes without problems... Im not too worried about the result of the tournament, as long as Jake enjoys it.
The downside is I miss the derby (City v United) because its the derby thats the one game I really want to watch- however, if the result goes as Im expecting maybe its a good thing I won't see the carnage!
I have now put a hit counter on the site. Im curious to know how many people do visit the site.
So, there will be no posts over the weekend seeing as there isn't any internet access in a caravan (!) but I'll update what I get back on how things went.
Hope everyone has a good bank holiday weekend.


Soundtrack of the day: (Well, morning anyway) "Bone" by Tim Booth.

Thursday, 3 May 2007

Happy birthday

It was a friends birthday yesterday - happy 34th Barbara.
I was at a (different) friends house last night watching the football, and again I was encouraging them to start their own blog. Both of the friends that were there told me stories that are prime blog material. Blogs dont have to be all singing all dancing sites full of philosophy and wise insights... I mean, look at some of the dull-as-ditchwater stuff I fill this site with! The point is communicating to the world at large. I will keep on hounding my friends to get on with it, and post their sites here so the whole world (or the tiny part that stops in here) can share their thoughts.
We had a discussion at work today about 'sexual fantasy fiction' and how easy / hard it is to write. I am thinking about writing a post in the style of an 'encounter' in one of those books (YOU know the ones, Mills & Boon etc. where man meets / seduces woman with all the romantic detail) to see if I could do it. If I can be @rsed of course. I'll see how I feel later. Comments would be appreciated if I post it up here.

Anyhoo, more dribblings later...

Wednesday, 2 May 2007

Rediscovering the joy of buying CDs

For a long time I downloaded new albums I wanted from a certain Russian website. The reasons for this were to save money on albums I wanted, and to lower the risk of wasting money on albums I didnt know anything about. However, the site has not let me update my credit balance for quite a while (technical problems) and so I have had to resort to buying CD's again. But I forgot how pleasureable that can be. Today I bought "Baby 81" by Black Rebel Motorcycle Club and "We Were Dead Before The Ship Even Sank" by Modest Mouse (Johnny Marr's new band). I used to be a bit of a CD addict... I would spend far too much than was sensible on new albums each month, and downloading sort of saved me. But now I have no choice it feels good to be back. Actually having the CD in my hands is a good thing. (And as a side note, the case for the BRMC album is really cool. Its not like the normal CD case you get. Check it out for yourself if you get the chance).

So, obviously, Soundtrack(s) of the day are the above.

Update: A suggestion to the people who read this - and in particular the people who know me who read this: Create a blog yourself. Its easy. More people should do it. The more people who create them, the more interesting things there are to read. Spread the word. Tell more people about mine and others you have found, and create your own, and I will do the same.
Its a big, wide, horrible world out there, we need to keep each other company.


Spread the word


A plea for help

I have been having some problems on my blog with comments. Could someone out there please send me some comments on any of my posts to see if this is now working? I will be publishing them more or less as soon as I get them.

Thank you in advance.

More posting later.

Tuesday, 1 May 2007

One of those days

So its day one without alcohol. Its nice to turn up to work sober for a change (thats a joke) but today is, and will continue to be "one of those days". You know the type where all these little things go wrong, and they build up and build up and before you know it you're standing at the top of a tall building with a high powered rifle playing 'kill the stranger' (well, ok, maybe not going THAT far, but you get the message).
You want a list? its only 8.30 and here's whats happened so far.
  • Banged my head on the car roof as I was getting in the car to come to work
  • Got all the way to the office door from the car park before realising I had left my swipe card in the car
  • Burnt my hand when making my morning tea
  • Dropped a new CD I was going to take back to the shops and broke the case rendering it useless
  • Held the door open for an ignorant w@nker who just walked through with so much as a thank you
  • Tripped up a curb on the way to the newsagents to get Q magazine
Now I know taken in isolation these things are not that bad, but one after the other, (and I will re-iterate its only 8.30!) I can feel my temper rising.

Anyway - its going to be a quiet day today, as I have very little work on, so I think Im going to be bored. I will mostly be listening to Oasis' album "Be Here Now" today, in recognition that its been 10 years since its release.

Hopefully my day will get better....