Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Cornwall '09 Part I

Yes, it was a very good weekend. The only thing that stopped it being great was the lack of surf...

We arrived on the Friday after a journey of 4 hrs and 45 minutes. Two of us were already there (they traveled down on the Thursday night) so we met them in the Cornish Arms pub. (This is pub in St. Merryn that was taken over by Rick Stein). A pint of Cornish ale later ("Proper Job" - stupid name but tastes nice) we were on our way back to the Chalet for larks and sleep. It's amazing, that four grown men (approaching their 40's!), still behave like tw@ts when gathered together after a long drive and are on their holidays. Still, a good end to the day.

Saturday dawned. I know that because I was kipping in the little lounge area with white blinds on the windows. It was like sleeping on the sun. So when the sun woke up, so did I. After a breakfast of tea and sausage baguettes we headed first to the hire shop (to get me a wet suit) and and then to the beach. I didn't hire a board this time, because we popped to the beach first thing to check the surf, and there was none. The term "flat as a witches tit" comes to mind... or as Mr. White said to Charlie "your tits are bigger". So I didn't bother with a board, and saved a bit of money because we did NO surfing on Saturday. We still had a laugh on the beach, playing beach football, throwing a 'novelty flying disc' around in the sea... it was good. A couple of interesting photos were taken, which I'm considering publishing.
In the afternoon, Mr. White and Charlie took a bike ride together (how romantic) and me and Mr. P just chilled out at the chalet. Did some reading, watched some of Glastonbury, basically recharging my batteries. And in the evening, we had some fish and chips (disappointing... I've had better from the chippys round here) and a few ales. Watched some more Glastonbury. Finally, we retired earlier than Friday as we were all knackered. It sounds like a boring day written down like that - but it was a good combination of fun and relaxation which was just what the doctor ordered.

Part II to follow...

Thursday, 25 June 2009

A strange thing happened on the way to work

Don't worry, this isn't the start of some sort of stand-up gag.
In the past few years, I have slowed down as a driver. I do not bomb about the place, thrashing the nuts off the engine, anymore. I do occasionally put my toe down a bit, but only if I'm late for something, or if I'm on a long journey on a motorway (and that's because I want to get OFF the motorway as soon as possible).
I know certain people (well, a certain person!) will disagree with that statement, but it is true. For example, normally, when I drive to work, I actually stick to the speed limit. I do not see the need (especially now, with no chuffin' work) to get into the office as quickly as possible, and as the roads are quiet, I normally just enjoy the drive in. This morning however, I had a sudden urge to go really fast. I haven't had that feeling for ages, but it was so weird, about half way through the journey I just wanted to go very quickly. Now I don't want anyone to worry, I didn't spend the rest of the journey at 100mph, but when I could (when the road was empty, and I could see no other cars around etc. etc.) I did put my foot down, and it felt fantastic. I think it's because there are a couple of roads I go down that I am normally sat at 30mph (as its the limit) and just cruise along, but this morning lets say I was 'substantially' faster than that. It was good fun.

So, last day in the office today, and then off to Cornwall tomorrow afternoon. It's gonna be bliss. I just have to get through today with no work and nothing to do and being bored out of my mind again. *sigh*

Soundtrack of the day: "Asleep In The Back" by Elbow & "Five Leaves Left" by Nick Drake.

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

All quiet...

Hence no post. I'm bored out of my tiny little mind at work, and it's hard to stay sat at my desk when I have no work to do. I just think "I should be at home being useful rather than sat here doing nowt". And that's the stupid thing - I'm being paid to do nothing. Some people (busy, hectic people) would think "that sounds brilliant", and it is for a day or two - but soon your brain starts to turn into cold porridge and begins to leak out of your ears. *sigh*

Still - I have a brilliant weekend to look forward to - me and 'the boys' are going down to Cornwall. We leave Friday night, and return Monday... and I have been looking forward to it since the plan was finalized. A weekend of surfing, drinking, eating and arsing about. It's gonna be just what I need. Yes, the journey will probably suck, but once we're there its nothing but relaxing and being a 'bloke'. Of course, a full report will be given on my return - lets just hope nothing like this happens again!

Soundtrack of the day: "Kind Of Blue" by Miles Davis. (Yes, jazz. Quiet jazz. I'm in a quiet jazz kinda mood...)

Friday, 19 June 2009

Something else I'm no good at

Shopping. On Wednesday night, I went to Westfield with a mate (the big shopping mall in Shepherds Bush, West London). I don't normally have any spare cash, but recently I came into a little bit of money (not a lot, but enough to maybe buy myself something nice) so I thought it would be good to go have a look round some nice shops and see what takes my fancy. I had visions of new trainers, new clothes, electronic equipment, all sorts... but when I got there, and was looking around, I just couldn't spend the money. There was nothing I actually needed so even though there were a few things I saw that I thought "yeah, that's quite good / nice" I couldn't bring myself to take the plunge and splurge. I know some men and all some women can spend ages walking round the shops, picking up little bits and pieces and doing all that nonsense, but I have worked out I can only shop if I actually need anything. For example, I need some new golf balls - so I will quite happily go to the shops, look at the brands I usually buy, see what deals are on, and buy some. Same for Christmas presents. In, buy, out. By the end of the evening Wednesday, I was tired, irritable, hungry and gagging for a beer. My friend nearly bought a suit (one of the reasons we went shopping) but couldn't decide on just the right one. So we thought "sod it" and went had a curry and beer, which was brilliant, and the best thing I spend my money on all evening!
So, plans for the weekend? Not much. On Sunday Jake has his first football tournament of the summer, so cue standing around watching football and stuff. And as it's also Fathers Day on Sunday (shit... gotta buy a card!) I'll then spend the rest of the day doing the grand total of fcuk all. Have a lovely Friday all.

Thursday, 18 June 2009

No post today

But don't worry, I'll be back tomorrow.

Soundtrack of the day: "Common Dreads" by Enter Shakiri... VERY good.

Monday, 15 June 2009

Im gonna find her and kill her

I'm talking about the hay fever fairy, who paid me a visit over the weekend. I hadn't really suffered with symptoms up until this point, but now I have the nose problem, the eye problem, the itchy throat problem... the bitch.

Apart from that, it was another quiet weekend. No sport on TV (boo) and not really too much money around at the moment to do too much.

Oh, we had a little barbecue for Sunday lunch - just some burgers and sausages - but why is it whenever I barbecue it smokes like a bastard? I do it properly, let the flames die down so you cook over heat not flame (this is important) but as soon as I put any food on the grill it's like I've just set fire to the whole of outdoors. It sucks. But the burgers were mm-mm terrific.

This week - I can't believe I'm in this situation at work again, but I have NO WORK to do. All my projects are done, (or waiting testing) and any work I might have to do I won't find out about until about 14.00 today when the U.S people get into the office. So this morning I can look forward to internet browsing and trying to look busy. It's no-one's fault, not even mine, but it sure does suck.

And, a week this Friday we go down to Cornwall for our 'boys weekend'. I seriously can't wait. Surfing, beer, good food, half decent company (ha, I'm kidding of course) and a weekend of just bein' a bloke.

Oh, and I burnt my fcuking head on Saturday training with Jake... I hate going bald.

Soundtrack of the day: The sound of my will to live slowly dribbling out of my ears as I sit here with no fcukin' work to do! Peace.

Friday, 12 June 2009

What would you do

Here I am, sat at my desk, and I have literally NO work to do. All my projects are completed or awaiting input from other sources, over which I have not control or influence. There are no other little jobs I can do to help anyone else out. I have not user issues to deal with, or documentation to do. I can't just sit at my desk and read a book (as much as I'd like to) because that would look unprofessional. And there are only so many internet sites you can go to before you're all webbed out.

So - what would YOU do?

No exercise + too much beer = weight gain.

That is all.

Wednesday, 10 June 2009


It's good for the soul, right?
So - in our office it's a 'tradition' that when it's someone's birthday everyone chips in a pound so a card and a cake and something nice is bought for the birthday boy or girl. It's supposed to be a surprise, but of course, everyone knows it happens, so most people just smile and join in and act surprised and then carve up the the cake for everyone. For the past three years I've managed to avoid this, by not putting my birthday into the team diary. That means no collection, no cake, no card, and more importantly, no mass gathering at my desk expecting me to be nice and welcoming. I still donate to everyone else in the office of course, and sign the card, and join in the gathering... I mean, its the done thing isn't it? Well it was...
...there's this woma... no, not mature enough to be called a woman. A girl in our office who has been annoying me a hell of a lot recently. She is very unprofessional, very loud, and very annoying. I expect a certain amount of noise in a busy help desk environment, but she goes way over the limit. I don't like her. So I was asked yesterday "Are you gonna donate to xxxxxxx's collection, its her birthday tomorrow?" And I said no. I've never not donated before, but I thought it would be hypocritcal for me to wish her a happy birthday when in fact I wish she would leave. And I know, I'm not the most popular in the office... I'm quiet, I keep myself to myself, and I don't get involved in any extra-curricular activites (nights out, lunches etc.), so I know she wouldn't give two shits if I signed her card or not. And you know what? I didn't even feel guilty. I thought I might feel a little pang of "ooh, that's not nice, it is her birthday"... but I really didn't.
And when the presentation of cake and card and God knows what else happened today, I was sat in the kitchen, eating my lunch, reading a very good book (Arthur Conan Doyle's "The Lost World" to be precise). And was I missed? No. Did I care? No.
Stand up for what you believe in, don't bow to peer pressure, don't do something just because everyone else does it and because it's 'expected'. Be yourself. Even if you aren't seen as popular.

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

iPhone OS / iPhone 3GS Release Dates & Prices

Last night I tuned into Phil Schiller's keynote speech from the WWDC 2009. There was a lot of cool information / techie stuff, but the most important parts in my mind were the release dates of the new 3.0 OS, and the new iPhone 3GS. And, of course, the prices.

A quick recap here for you all (I was twitting it last night)

The new iPhone 3.0 OS will be released on June 17th. It will be free to iPhone users, and $9.99 for iPod Touch users. (WOOHOO!)

The new iPhone 3GS will be released on June 19th, in the U.S and Europe (Definitely for the U.S, and I think that's the same for Europe). It will be $199 for the 16GB version, and $299 for the 32GB version, and only available in Black or White, no fancy colours.

There you go iPhone people, some good news. If you want to recap the speech yourself, go here.


I don't normally comment on stuff like this (mainly because I don't understand it too well!) but I read today that London Underground staff would be starting a 48 hour strike at 18.59 today.

According to the source I read (ok, it was the BBC website) the RMT were offered the following pay rise - "...a four-year deal of 1.5% this year and then the inflation rate plus 0.5%; or a two-year deal of 1% now and inflation plus 0.5% in year two." However, the RMT wanted "...a 5% pay rise and a promise of no compulsory redundancies."

Now it seems to me that the RMT is being unreasonably demanding, considering the state of the financial world right now, where a lot of people are lucky to even have jobs, let alone be in the position to try and force a pay rise. The figures quoted as being offered seem reasonable in this current climate, which again will be more than a lot of people will get. But that's not enough the for RMT. Oh no! (I will just say that I don't know all the ins and outs of this story, so maybe there is more money available than what's being offered, and that's why the RMT is demanding more...I'm unsure).
Anyway, because they are not getting what they want, they go on strike, affecting thousands of Londoners who are only trying to get to work to earn money to keep their families in food, and heat, and housing. I know I've posted about this sort of thing before, but I read this story and wanted to make the point again - Do the RMT imagine that those people who will be truely hit by this strike will be sympathetic to their cause? If I were still working in London, I know I wouldn't be. I would be cursing those people who have gone on strike. I'd imagine the RMT are doing this to force TfL (Transport for London) to bow to their demands, by forcing the public to complain to them and say things like "Ya boo sucks give them their money" or something. But I know personally, I wouldn't complain to TfL, I'd bitch to the people who have made the decision to go on strike, because THEY are the one's doing the damage.

However, seeing as I work 10 minutes from home and drive to work, this won't really affect me anyway. But it would have done a few years ago!

Update: Here's more information from the BBC. Not just thousands, but millions could be affected, and could cost the London economy £100m! Great news in this current climate, eh?

Monday, 8 June 2009

Have you ever picked up a hitch hiker?

I have. Twice now.

The first time was years ago - my friend and I were driving somewhere and it was raining. Well, when I say raining, I mean it was as if someone had put an ocean in a bag in the sky, and ripped open the bag. It was a deluge of Noah's Ark proportions. And we saw this woman, on her own, walking in it. Poor thing. So we stopped to offer her a lift. And she said yes, the silly cow. Two men, in a car, and she gets in?? Was she mad? Obviously, because you didn't hear about the court case... I mean, because I'm nice, we took her to where she was going and that was that.

The second time was this morning on the way to work. I was just pulling off the motorway I sometimes use to get to work, and I saw a biker man stood there with his thumb out and his bike on the side of the road. "What's up fella?" says I, as I pulled in next to him. Turns out he had run out of petrol, and he was trying to get to South Harrow for his first day in a new job. He had come from Camden and hadn't put enough petrol in the bike. "So where do you want to be dropped?" asks out valiant samaritan. He said anywhere with a petrol station, or a cab office, or somewhere nearer civilization (there is nothing near this particular slip road). So I told him to get in and I dropped him to the cab office just round the corner. (Actually, it was about 10 minutes away, because I couldn't remember where the nearest cab office was so I took him to one I definitely knew the location of).
The reason I stopped was because he was a biker. I wouldn't have just picked a random bloke up off the side of the road, but for those who don't know, I rode a bike for around ten years myself, and still have that attitude of bikers sticking together.
So anyway - hopefully he'll get to work in a cab OK and won't be fired on his first day. Good deed of the day done.

Soundtrack of the day: Nothing yet - it was a bad day on Friday of screaming and shouting in the office because none of the bosses were in, and I was getting very fcuking angry with some of my co-'workers' (ha). So today, I'm gonna wait and see what music I will need to drown out the noise. I mean, will Nick Drake be enough, or do I have to pump up the Disturbed and Metallica?

Update: Soundtrack of the day: "West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum" by Kasabian (yes, the new one)... fcuk me does it rock.

Thursday, 4 June 2009

The A312 incident (or - the dangers of too much alcohol)

OK, as requested, the tale of the A312 (also known as the Hayes Bypass) 'incident'.

My much beloved and I met while working together at a place called The West London Training & Enterprise Council, who were (are?) based in Hounslow, West London. Aah, those were the good ol' days... we were young, carefree, and fans of going out for the occasional piss up. So one of the people from the company were leaving, and had a leaving do (as is the tradition) at a local hostelry.

The evening was full of urbane conversation and witty retorts... (actually, it was full of swearing and tit jokes, but you get the idea) and by the end of the evening, when it was time to wend our merry way home, I discovered that due to some dodgy ale (or something) I couldn't really walk or see straight. So the much beloved and I found a cab, and started our journey home.

Now, I am not the best in a car when even a little more than slightly inebriated. And 'pon this night, I was a LOT more than slightly inebriated. So after about 10 minutes in the back of the cab my stomach decided enough was enough and urged me to get out of the cab so it could evacuate itself. Unfortunately, the place it decided to do this was on a massive roundabout at a set of traffic lights. (For those with local knowledge, this is the Western International roundabout, the one just before Pump Lane on the Hayes Bypass). For those without local knowledge, it's basically a massive roundabout, with four lanes of traffic flowing through it, controlled by traffic lights. So as the cab had stopped at a red light, I opened the back passenger door, leaned out gracefully and shared my stomach contents with the tarmac. This was quite a major emptying, and we were infact stopped at the same set of lights for something like four or five changes of light (red to green to red etc.). This is not good.

So anyway, I finally manage to drag my sorry, vomit smelling, dizzy, miserable self back into the cab, and it moves off, but I can only manage to get as far as the other side of the roundabout before requesting politely ("Pull the fcuking cab over now before I puke on the back of your head!") to stop again. I couldn't do it. I couldn't manage the cab journey home. So thrusting I- don't-know how much money into the hands of the cab driver, I demanded he take my much beloved home safely, while I reassured her that I would "take a little stroll to clear my head, I'll be fine, don't worry". She was fairly frantic, and I can understand why - I was basically suggesting I would walk home along what amounted to a two lane motorway... no hard shoulder, no foot path, nothing. But I wasn't a-feared! No! For I had my invincible beer coat on! (what a tw@t).
So off she tootles, no doubt cursing the day she drugged me and convinced me to be her beau, while I start the long hike back toward home. You can picture it can't you, a sad, weary looking fellow, with the smell of second hand beer wafting off him, weaving down the edge of this busy, fast, long road at night.

Anyhoo... evidently I didn't die. I managed to walk the length of the A312 to another major roundabout (again, those of local knowledge - The White Hart roundabout). A journey of about 2.5 miles. (According to Google Maps). By this time, my head had cleared enough to be able to handle another cab ride the rest of the way home, where I arrived to be met by my worried, sympathetic much beloved. Actually, she threw the front door keys out of the bedroom window at me to let me in, and then shut and locked the bedroom door, giving me the opportunity to find out how comfortable our futon was to sleep on.

The moral of the story? Alcohol is bad.

Some more questions / dilemmas for you

If you could find out how you will die, (not the time, just the method), would you want to know?

If someone offered you £1 million, but told you that if you took it a man in China would drop down dead, would you take the money?

If you were chosen to anonymously administer a lethal injection to a death-row inmate, could you do it?

If someone asked you to tell a complete stranger that their wife / husband had just died in a horrific accident, could you do it?

If you believed a man was guilty of murder, would you lie in a court of law to get him convicted?

You're in a hotel, up on the 5th floor. The hotel is 'U' shaped so from your room you can see directly across into another room. As you look, you notice a very attractive member of the opposite sex, naked, pleasuring themselves. They do not notice you. Do you watch? Does your answer change if that person is NOT attractive? Does your answer change if you realize you know that person?

I realize all but one of these questions have a 'death' motif - this is not for any particular reason (I'm not feeling especially morbid today or anything) but I realized that questions involving death usually provoke the strongest feelings with regards to morality and 'doing the right thing'. I'd be interested to see what you lot out there make of them. If you feel that your answers might reveal too much about you, I will allow anonymous submissions...

Tuesday, 2 June 2009

Some numbers I've discovered

A quick post today, just to tell you some facts I've recently discovered:

Individual pieces of human-made debris, each over 1cm in length, in Earth orbit: 579,500
Proportion of internet users who visit at least one 'adult' website a month: 36%
Number of knives confiscated from members of the public visiting the House of Commons in 2008: 142
Value of clothes, accessories, electronic appliances and jewellery carried by the average Briton: £972.00
A rock drummers heart rate in BPM: 191
Maximum capability of IBM's 'Roadrunner' supercomputer in calculations per second - 1,026 quadrillion


Update: Have you seen this new XB360 controller story thing? Project Natal? Have you heard about it? Is it for real? How cool will it be? Opinions, thoughts etc. (only the geeky need apply)

Monday, 1 June 2009


Not an interesting one - it's five years today that I have been an employee of my current company. (Note: I can remember the name of my company, but if it's mentioned on a web page, it gets picked up by google analytics or some shite and a report gets sent to loads of important people at the company and they then check out the website it's mentioned on... not good, as I'm sure you'd agree).
Anyway - five years today I started here... aah, the memories. That was a scream by the way, not a sigh.
It's been... work. That's about it. It's a job. It's not a vocation, or a passion, but it pays OK and I'm rather good at it. The jobs I'd like to do, those that would be a passion and get me out of bed with a smile on my face and spring in my step and a lump in my shorts don't pay enough to keep me and my loved ones in the style to which they are acustomed so I do this job even though it bores the man-tits off me. What a sacrifice, eh?
My career here got off to a flyer. I started on a Tuesday, and on the next day (that'll be a Wednesday for the slow of thinking) the company had an evening 'do' at Windsor Races. (For those who don't know, or are American, there is a horsey racing track in Windsor that shows horses running about the place).
Anyway, eager to impress and be 'part of the team' I went along. We left after work, got a coach there, and... the rest is kind of a blur. You see, food was provided in a little individual hamper that most sensible people were stuffing their faces with. Me being a kind of uber-husband thought "My wife would like this" and so kept it in pristeen condition and didn't touch a single piece of food. I did, however, consume more or less my bodyweight in Budweiser. (King Of Beers it is). Epic drunkenness sums it up nicely. I can barely remember the journey back to the office, or the tube ride and walk home. I do remember waking up number 1 son with my extra, extra, specially loud chundering (he was only 5 at the time... poor lad) in the middle of the night, a fact that he still reminds me of. And the kicker? My new boss was coming all the way over from Belgium on the Thursday just to welcome me. Remember this was only my third day at the company. I ended up having to go home at lunchtime, because of my mother-and-father of all hangovers. Swish!

In other news - we leave for our 'boys trip to Cornwall' in four weeks this Friday. And as I tried to do last year, I need to slim down a bit. So for the rest of the month it's gonna be no more beer or cider. I know, I know, sounds impossible and its hard not drinking that stuff in this glorious weather, but needs must. I'm a little to flabby and water-balloon-ish for my liking. There's always wine and scotch!

This weekend, I mostly sat in the garden. It was bliss. I read a novel and a half over the weekend just sat in the sun, under a garden umbrella. Lovely.

This week, I am busy (shock!) so I need to knuckle down and get to work. After I've had another cuppa, and caught up on other blogs of course! Peace.