Thursday, 22 October 2009

Like a plastic bag caught in an updraft...

...I am tossed hither and yon on the winds of inspiration and desire.

One day I might be utterly fed up with my profile in the mirror as I stand there in all my (in)glorious nudity thinking to myself "This will not do. Weight must be lost, definition regained" and other days I will feel that the effort involved would be better suited to finding another can of lovely lovely lager.

Or, I might have the urge to write (songs, stories) or paint, or produce some other such creative tour de force, but then the very next day realize I am not that a creative person and can't even summon an interesting blog post.

I want to go buy some fantastic new piece of hardware, reveling in the very act of being alive in this 21st century or wonder and modern technology. And then I realize it's expensive and I would never actually use it.

Now I know a lot of you will have similar thoughts - but the thing that annoys me about my fickle little mind is that my feelings can change multiple times in the same day. How is that sensible and conducive to a sane day-to-day life? Or is it just me that has this??

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Great, like we don't have enough of these already

Now 'science' has discovered another bastarding spider: Giant orb web spider found.

Quote: "With a leg span of up to 12cm... and a web diameter of up to 1m..."

Sweet Satan and all his little wizards, these things are truly bowel loosening.

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Surprisingly free of aches & pains

I played football again last night... it was a 'short notice' thing, one of the players from Wilmslow Town plays regularly on a Monday night, and their group of blokes were a couple short, so he sent an email out asking for volunteers. As I was one of the first (or maybe only?) to respond, I was asked to go along.
It was good. No youngsters running rings round me, all blokes my age or there abouts and good football played. I thought I might be sore this morning, but I'm actually OK.
I found out there isn't a game in the league for us for three weeks... bummer. So anything I can do to keep the fitness level up (well, improve it first, then keep that level) will be welcome. Although I can't stand road running, I think that's what I'm going to have to do. I did consider getting a push bike, but a flabby, miserable, sweaty, red faced man wobbling along on two wheels is not a sight to inflict upon the fair inhabitants of Stockport and it's surrounding areas. Swimming is also out. I wouldn't want to be seen with my pale, hairy body splashing around by some young, fit & healthy life guard who'd think I was drowning and put me through the indignity of trying to give me mouth to mouth by the side of the pool. And I can't join a gym because a) I can't afford the money each month 2) I get very bored in gyms and d) I wouldn't go often enough to benefit from it. So it looks as though road running is all I can do. Joy.
Nothing tonight. Number One Son has training tomorrow night. Nothing Thursday OR Friday night. Then it's the weekend, and on Sunday afternoon we're off back down to London to see my parents for the week. It's half term, see, so my mother will be looking after Jake for the week, I will be working out of my old Uxbridge office, and catching up with my mates. There are also TWO new additions to the extended family that is me and my friends that I have yet to meet, and I'll be doing that also.
Have a safe and quiet Tuesday everyone.

Monday, 19 October 2009

A case of mistaken interest

Just a quickie... there's a guy here in the office who for some reason thinks I'm into Moto GP (the motorbike version of F1 Grand Prix). When I started in this office a few weeks ago, I mentioned, and got talking to, this guy about motorbikes, and the fact I used to ride them etc. And now, for some reason, he thinks I am a massive fan of the Moto GP stuff, and whenever there's been a race at the weekend he comes in and says things like "did you see the race?" and "such-and-such (some racers name I don't know) threw away his title chances" etc. etc. How can I tell the poor misguided fool that I have no interest in the sport?! I just have to smile and say things like "really? Cor!" and "No, I don't believe it!" and stuff... daft eh?

This post brought to you by rice krispies & tea

Good morning children.

And what did we all get up to this weekend? Me? Well...

Jake played in a cup game on Saturday and his team lost 8 - 3. It was embarrassing. The unfortunate thing is, Jake plays up front, so his job is to score goals (which he did again on Saturday) but the rest of the team... well, I don't want to be unkind, but they are not as good as the standard Jake is used to playing, and even he now is starting to become aware of that. He has just started training with another team on a Wednesday night, which is in the division above his current team and play much better football, and if he does well enough there he will be asked to sign with them. So we'll see what happens.

Me, I played on Sunday afternoon (well, the last 15 minutes of the game anyway) and we drew 3 all. We should have won to be honest, we had enough chances, we just couldn't find the back of the net. And City drew 1-1 away from home, with ten men for the last 25 minutes. So that's not too bad, considering.

This week, I have finally got something to do - I've been told by an 'informed source' that it would be beneficial for me to start learning something called Java Server Faces (it's a new type of Java framework). I won't bore you all with the technical mumbo jumbo, suffice it to say I now have things to download and tutorials to follow, so at least I will be busy for a few days.

As for personal time - there's not much in my diary this week. Jake has training tonight, then again on Wednesday, but I have no plans at all.

I hope you all had a nice weekend, and that your Monday is as painless as possible.


Friday, 16 October 2009

Another week slain at the alter of the weekend

Just a fancy way of saying that Friday's here at last.
It's been a fairly shitty week if I'm honest - but only because of the lack of work (don't worry, I'm not going to go on about all that again).

Someone here in the office just asked me what my plans are for the weekend, and as boring as it sounds, it could be summed up with just one word - football.
I had the email I was waiting for last night, confirming that I am in the squad for the game on Sunday afternoon (yay). Jake also has a game on Saturday morning so we'll see how he does there. Saturday afternoon I'll be watching football on TV, and then when I finish the game on Sunday afternoon I'll be rushing back home to watch City on the TV. So it is a weekend of football.

I went to John Lewis yesterday, and bought myself a new cookbook - the Wagamama Cookbook.
For those that don't know what Wagamama is, check out their website.
So now I am all enthused about oriental / Asian cooking, and will hopefully get hold of some of the ingredients to try a couple of the dishes this weekend. The two that have caught my eye so far are poached cod with shiitake mushrooms & soy, and a barbecue & honey roasted pork with noodles. P*H*W*O*A*R!

Oh, and I realized last night what's been missing from my life recently... music! I haven't been sitting at my desk listening to music recently, as I have had no need to drown out background noise because there has been none. This has happened before... I get a 'craving' for something, something undefinable, and then I realize my MP3 player hasn't seen the light of day for ages and my car stereo hasn't been switched on for ages, and that makes me think 'music!'. So I might try and rectify that today... I have a couple of albums on my iPhone that I haven't listened to properly, so I could maybe play those.

Anyway... a bit of a rambling post there, but I hope whatever you lot are doing at the weekend, you stay safe & have fun.


Wednesday, 14 October 2009

As requested by Russ

In response to my previous post, Russ commented that he'd like:
A list of my top 10 albums of all time
A short story about a dwarf & a penguin
5 points that may make him think that all MP's aren't old crooks who couldn't run the country for toffee.

First of all, the top ten albums. This is VERY hard, because as most of you know, one album can be your favorite one day because of the mood you're in, one day it's not. But I will try and compile a list of 10 albums that, if I could only have 10 for a year, I would choose (in no particular order)

1. Definitely Maybe - Oasis
2. Sign Of The Times - Prince
3. The Stone Roses - The Stone Roses
4. Rubber Soul - The Beatles
5. Grace - Jeff Buckley
6. Appetite For Destruction - Guns 'n' Roses
7. Automatic For The People - R.E.M
8. Chutes Too Narrow - The Shins
9. The Bends - Radiohead
10. The North At Its Heights - MC Tunes (guilty pleasure album)

The Dwarf & The Penguin
(a short story by iSimon)

The dwarf was puzzled. He didn't remember leaving the penguin in the freezer, but then again he had put away a fair amount of vodka last night, and this could be another in the list of things he couldn't remember along with where his shoes were, who painted a copy of the Turin shroud on his wall and why his bedroom smelled faintly of cheddar.
It was a large penguin. In fact, given the size of the freezer, it was impressive that someone had actually managed to get the whole thing in.
"Well this won't do" he thought to himself, and so he dragged it out and put in on the draining board next to the sink. It was like handling a very thick, very rubbery, piece of rock. It was literally frozen stiff.
After pouring himself a small sherry as a 'livener', he sat at the kitchen table and contemplated his new house guest. "This won't do at all" he thought. "Is it still alive? Can it still be alive?" well there was only one way to find out. Leaving the poor creature on the draining board to defrost he went and showered and dressed for the day.
Upon his arrival back into the kitchen, he noticed a pool of water forming around his rubbery house guest, and thought "It won't be long now... we'll see. I either have a new friend, or a free dinner". Another few sherry's later, and after a nap (well, a black-out) he was awoken by something tapping at his head. "Oi. Short arse. Up and at 'em". The dwarf's bleary eyes focused on the penguin as it stood there in all it's dinner-suit-looking glory, tapping it's foot and waving it's fins around in a slightly exasperated way.
"You're alive. Bugger." Said the dwarf.
"You can talk. Bugger again". He then said
"Yes I can talk, you silly little creature, and I want to know why you left me in your freezer."
"I have no idea" said our hero "but I'm sure if I put you in there, it was for a good reason."
"A good reason? Well, let's see how YOU like it..." and with that, our vertically-challenged man was bodily hoisted into the air, and man-handled (well, penguin-handled) into the freezer!
The door closed on his weak complaints, and through the door heard the penguin start to speak.
"So you don't remember the night out we had last night? There I was, minding my own business in the penguin park, when along comes you, stinking of vodka and cheap aftershave, singing a song about Japanese air hostesses. 'Hello pengy, me ol' mate' you shouted, even though my name is in fact Brian. 'Fancy a drink?' you asked. Well, of course, penguins don't drink, but that didn't stop you dragging me out of my pool of water and forcing me into a taxi at vodka-bottle point. 'We'll have fun, you'll see' you explained, and the proceeded to take me on a night of debauchery & sin that I don't think I'll ever recover from. We arrived back here, at your little hovel, with you practically falling down drunk, and me scared out of my wits. I was not happy. You then decided 'oh, you look sad, is it because you're too warm? Here, I'll help' and the next thing I know I'm forced into the bloody freezer!" This was quite a speech by the penguin, and by now our little hero was quite chilled to the bone.
"I'm s-s-sorry" the dwarf mumbled.
"Sorry? Sorry is it? You think that makes it better?" The penguin was not happy. "We'll see about sorry".
And with that the penguin walked from kitchen and turned out the lights.
Time passed. The dwarf wasn't sure how long, as all he could measure in the dark of the freezer was how often his teeth chattered between each slowing heart beat.
Suddenly, there was light. "There you poisoned little whatsit, you've had a taste of your own medicine... what do you think now?"
The dwarf, barely able to speak, looked the penguin in the eye and said "Well, I've learned my lesson. I'll never p-p-p-pick up a penguin ever again".


And finally, the 5 points on why MP's aren't all crooks and couldn't run this country for toffee.

1. Er..
2. Um..
3. Uh...
4. Nope. Sorry, can't think of any.
5. Oh, no hang on! They... no. Sorry. They're all crooks and they don't know how lucky they are.

I hope that has sufficiently fulfilled your request my dear boy.

Seconds out, round tw... oh.

So I came in this morning all fired up, expecting some snotty reply from the U.S about the email I sent yesterday... and nothing happened. The person responded with a very reasonable "OK, I'll make the changes in the rest of the code, thanks."

Oh... how disappointing! I was expecting fire and brimstone and the gnashing of teeth and the breaking of bones (as my old music teacher used to say) but there was nothing. Which, if I'm honest, was a little bit of a relief because I'm not in the mood for confrontation today.

Another day of no work in prospect... boredom... depression... not conducive to energetic exploits like arguing and getting angry.

Number One Son will be training with a new team tonight... the team two of his friends play for, so he's looking forward to that. We're not going to be leaving his current team (Stockport Vikings) just yet, but it'll be good to see if there really is a difference in technical ability and team play between the two. Oh, and England are playing tonight, but I couldn't give less than two turds about that.

So that's my Wednesday. Today, I will mostly be sitting here reading a book. For the next 6 hours. Unless someone wants me to do something for them... but I doubt it.

Try and have fun today whatever you do.


Tuesday, 13 October 2009


I received another email from the good ol' U S of A this morning. Long story short, I was asked if I knew anything about a code change, replied in the negative (because I didn't know anything about it at the time) and then this morning received the email that made me want to hurt someone / something.

I won't include the whole email, but the killer line, the one that made me swear like a drunk sailor, was :-

"Could you at least make an attempt to do some research and find out why this was done?"

Just seeing it there again has made me slap the tea lady... The nerve of this fella. The code he was talking about was changed four & a half years ago and he said that my name was the last person who updated it. Also, in the comments of the code, I have written something that tries to explain the change. So yes, OK, I made the change... but does anyone know what they did four & a half years ago, and more importantly, why? So, I did "make an attempt" and "did some research" and found out a couple of things;

1. I still don't know why this change was done. I have no emails or records from that long ago to remind myself why I made the change.

B. I don't think anyone, unless they are so anal they should be committed, keeps records of a little code change they made that long ago.

4. This bloke has no idea how much he wound me up with that comment, but if he did it on purpose, he'd better be out the next time I pop across the ocean to our U.S office.

But, trying to remain professional and above it all, I replied calmly and sensibly, stating I still didn't know why the change was made, but maybe a couple of other people who may have been involved could help. By Merlin's Beard I'm good.

Anyway. In other news...

My hands are still bad, but I haven't yet tried the Apple Cider Vinegar cure (a sad indictment of just how bone idle I can be... the stuff is there, I just haven't done anything with it yet)

I just finished reading Chris Evans' autobiography "It's Not What You Think" and I have to say I was impressed. I know he annoys a hell of a lot of people, and when he was most famous and going out on the lash with Paul "Nuttier than a bag of monkeys" Gascoigne he did get on my boobs too, but now he seems to have mellowed and his book was a darn good read. Recommended.

It's only Tuesday and I'm tired of the week already. *sigh*.

Have a nice day children.


Monday, 12 October 2009

This can't be right

OK, I know I keep going on about it, but this morning I finished all the work I had to do by 07:50 this morning. That's it. No more emails to respond to, no code to work on... By Thor's Hammer it's frustrating.

Anyhoo... We had a flying visit to my in-laws this weekend, just an overnight stop, but the BIG difference is that before it could take anything up to four hours to get there whereas now it's an hour away. As a consequence, it's a lot easier for us to drive up there on a Saturday, spend the night, and come back on the Sunday. So that was nice.

I also had a game of online golf with my friend Scott in the U.S, and got my arse handed to me... annoying, seeing as I was 'giving it large' the week before!

Jake didn't play this weekend, as he wasn't well (cold, cough etc.) and I didn't play as we had a break for 'international commitments'.

This week... well, apart from the mind numbing boredom of no work today, I don't have much planned. So we'll take each day as it comes.

So think of me today, as you're working hard doing what you do... you may not like your job and feel like you're too busy to even pee, but rest assured you're in a better situation than me.


Thursday, 8 October 2009

School days

Last night I had a really good idea for a post. It was funny, intelligent, and above all interesting. But do you think I can remember it now, this morning? Can I bollocks. I'm rubbish.

Anyway - not a bad journey back yesterday. I left Birmingham at about 14:00 and was back home by 15:40. I had time to go get my long wavy locks cut at the local barbers, and then walk the dog.

Tonight, Number One Son's future senior / high school is having an open evening, for potential new students and parents to go take a look around. I still recall when I went to look around my new schools when I was 10 / 11. We had a choice of 4 or 5 schools in the area, so we went to look around them all. From what I remember, it was quite daunting... the sheer scale of the place, the bigger buildings, bigger playground etc. compared to the junior school I was in. It was quite unnerving. I have no doubts that Jake will cope fine with this though, as he's a lot more confident at this age than I was.

I hated school. I know a lot of people say that, but I really did. Junior school was great, but then it's not real school is it, its a doss. Senior school is where the work really starts.

** Confession Alert ** Confession Alert ** Confession Alert ** Confession Alert **

I was bullied for about three & a half years of the five years I was in high school. Nothing overly dramatic - I mean, I was never subjected to some of the horror stories you hear about in the media now days, but I was one of the first to be the butt of the jokes, the one singled out for different treatment from my peers. I know some of it was probably my own doing - I had a big mouth on me that got me into trouble sometimes, but a LOT of it was just the vindictive little bastards in my year at school having nothing better to do than single me out. I was quite small in school (still am, some would say) and I have ginger hair, so you can put two & two together can't you. I wasn't the only one, and in fact became very good friends with one of the other guys who got a lot of stick, and we remained friends for a few years after we left school. But, there wasn't a lot of other people who were treated the way I was. This was a big, massive, part of the reason I hated school so much. And now, as a parent, I am worried that Jake will receive the same treatment. He already knows that his hair color singles him out, and he deals with this really well (as far as I know), but kids his age haven't really developed their vindictive muscles yet... the next three to five years is when that really kicks in. I think he'll be OK though, as he is much more confident than I was, and I know he wouldn't put up with as much stick is I did. He is also a talented footballer, which appeals to the sporty types, and good at street dancing / performing which will appeal to the girls! So I think there is more hope for him.

I just read all that back - I didn't really plan for it being such a big outpouring of what happened in school... but it's out there now.

So... have a lovely Thursday everyone. It's nearly the weekend!


Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Cross dressing - the unknown dangers

There's not much going on in my dark little world this morning, but I saw this story and thought I'd share it with you as it made me laugh.

Picking on a transvestite fail


On a similar theme... this guy gets his just deserts... Judo style...

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Hola amigos

It was a very early start this morning. I had planned to get up at 05.30 (yes, they have a 'five thirty' in the morning too, apparently...) but was actually awake at 05.00. So, ablutions taken care of, I was in the car and on the road by 05.30. Which means I pulled into the car park here in Birmingham at 06.50. It would have been quicker if not for sodding road works and 50mph average speed cameras in THREE places on the motorway. Still, here now, in an empty office with the first cup of God's own drink in front of me. (No, not scotch).

City drew away from home yesterday - a good point, considering that the team they played are also vying for a top four spot. I had a good ol' shout at the TV too, which I don't normally do, but last night I was getting a little *cough* wound up at some of the things going on, and I know the players OR the ref can't hear me, but speak to any football fan and that thought goes out the window... of course they can hear me, they're just ignoring me!

So I have to try extra specially hard to look busy today, as my manager is based in this office and sits behind me, and then tonight I'm going to dinner with my friend John from the Gloucester office. Another night in an anonymous hotel room, and then home tomorrow afternoon after another (half!) day in the office.

My new edition of Wired UK turned up in the post yesterday, and that made me happy.

Have a lovely Tuesday my friends.


Monday, 5 October 2009

- Insert Title Here -

Evenin' all.

OK, Jake first. He had an audition for a character called Gavroche in Les Miserables. He goes to a stage school once a week, where he does drama, singing and dance. As part of it, they get notified when productions needs kids for whatever role, and this time Jake was put forward for this character. He went to the audition on Saturday morning, did OK in the first part when he got recalled, but then didn't get picked, which was a shame. However, it's good experience for him, and he'll know what to expect next time, as there will be more productions coming up.

Me - we were well and truly beaten on Sunday. The team we played were quicker, sharper, fitter, and played better football. We were taught a footballing lesson and no mistake. They also had more players in their 30's than we did, which helps. I'm not making excuses, but in my personal defense, this was only the second game I played for this side, I started the game and played for about 70 minutes, so was absolutely knackered, and I'm still getting back up to match fitness, so I did OK. We now have a two week break (for internationals(!)) and in the meantime I am determined to get out there and pound the streets. I need to get my fitness & stamina up as quick as possible, so I'll be running running running (Who said "Run, Fat Boy, Run"?). However, this is going to be hard to do tomorrow & Wednesday as I am in bloody Birmingham again. Shit biscuits.

The rest of this week... City are on TV tonight away at Villa (Come on the blues), as I said I am in Birmingham tomorrow and Wednesday (staying overnight this time, rather than drive back and forth) and then Thursday & Friday I have no plans.

Stay tuned folks, more updates all this week.

Update: The stuff I ordered turned up - the Hairy Bikers cook book looks really nice, and the recipes look fabulous. The Ian Brown album "My Way"... I'm disappointed in it. I bought the EP he released before the album and the four songs on it are also on the album, and they are the best tracks too... so it's a bit of a con and I'm a little annoyed at that. But I also downloaded from iTunes an album called "XX" by a band called "The XX". I know, weird. But the sound is like Portishead, or Massive Attack. Very mellow and relaxing. Recommended.

Friday, 2 October 2009


Just a quickie.

First of all, I've been picked for the Wilmslow Town squad again for this Sunday. We'll be playing away against Prestfield on Sunday afternoon. This game, I'll be trying to get more involved and relax a bit more and play my normal game, rather than just be overly worried about not making any mistakes.

Tonight, I am off to a popular music recital, or 'gig' as I think the kids call it. The Better Half has two tickets to see Richard Hawley, and as she can't find anyone else to go with, I'm accompanying her. Now, I know I don't exactly sound excited by this, but it's not the fact that it's this Richard Hawley fella (I don't know his stuff), nor is it the fact that it's going with The Better Half... I just don't like this sort of thing full stop. I've never been a fan of this kind of gathering, be it the cinema, a concert, a play... anything with lots of people in a busy place I just don't feel comfortable. Weird I know. But there you go. Even at a City match... while I'm at the game, I enjoy it, but getting there, and getting back, it frustrates me and winds me up a little.
Anyway, that's the plan for tonight.

Tomorrow, Jake doesn't have football as he has an audition. I don't want to go into too much detail yet, I don't want to jinx anything, but I'll update more maybe on Monday.

So there you go. I hope whatever you have planned for the weekend goes well, and you all stay safe.