Wednesday, 31 December 2008

Another free half day

We've all been given another free half day. That's two over Christmas. He, he.

Only problem is that i'm not supposed to be round Shaheen's till 6 so I have 2 options. Head home after lunch or go shopping. If I go home i'll only have a couple of hours before having to head out again. If I go shopping i'll end up killing someone. Idiots!

Tuesday, 30 December 2008

SC's review of 2008

Monaco
The year started off in style (or so we thought). April was invited out to run a course out in Monaco, as it was over a weekend it made sense for us both to make a trip out of it so I tagged along too. Other than the Easy Jet flights and a few odds and sods it cost me nothing. Ha, ha. I've been there briefly before and it's a very odd place. The place is stinking rich, and the majority of people there didn't mind showing it. Sadly it had no class.

First car
I've never owned a car, when I passed my test at 17 (first time) I could use my parents cars, I then went to Uni where I didn't need one and more importantly couldn't afford one. When I started working I was in London and I think car ownership there is quite selfish.

We decided to buy the MX-5 as we've got friends who'd had them and said they run forever, are relatively cheap and most importantly are good fun. Sadly our little car died of a gun shot wound in December. A nasty stone flicked up and went through the radiator which eventually caused the car to overheat and blow the head gasket. Our insurers claimed that it was therefore a write off so now we need a new one.

Australia
A big highlight of the year for me was our 3 week trip to Australia. I met a load of April's friends and family and a handful of lovely Koalas. The weather was great and the people were friendly. Another surprise was the beer was good too. much better than the stuff we import.

House
We bought our first house in May. That was stressful but it's certainly been worth it. I can how truly call the place where I sleep my home. It's taken us a little while to fill it up with stuff and there's certainly a load more on April's list (sounds like a Spielberg film) but we'll get there in the end. By that time we'll be looking to find somewhere else though.

4 Weddings
We had four lovely wedding this year and have four more next year. I guess i'm just getting to that sort of age where it all starts to come together. Don't worry April and Cilla, I have no plans for marriage just yet.

Reading
I took April to her first Reading Festival. Good fun and mostly dry. Great bands and great company. It was spoilt by me being ill for the majority of it but what are you going to do? Maybe drink less???

Barcelona
I was best man at my friend John's wedding so off we trotted to Barcelona on the stag do. It also coincided with my birthday so it was an extra long weekend. Urgh!

Here's a little snippet from my speech

Being asked to be the best man is like making love to the Camilla Parker Bowles……
It’d be a great honour,
But nobody really wants to do it! ...


New Rugby Club
I joined Tonbridge Juddians in September, i've only played about 5 or 6 games so far this season but the guys are a good bunch, and i've mostly enjoyed it. Sadly with all the other bits and pieces I get up to at the weekend I can only play every other weekend at best. I'll try and change that for 2009 as I can't see myself playing for many more years.

New Job
I rekindled my interest in moving jobs after the house buying and after a short while found an ideal role the new place. I've really enjoyed my first 3 months and am looking forward to learning more bits and pieces about insurance and meeting some more new people.

Cats
My personal highlight was the purchase of our two lovely cats Poppet and Biscuit. Both are really friendly and have their own unique personalities. In short they're the best cats i've met.

Spain
We had good fun over the weekend. Nice and chilled out holiday with good friends and a nice little bit of Autumn sun before the Winter kicked in at home.

Edinburgh
I had a flying visit to Edinburgh to see Tim. Lovely city and it was good to see Tim and his buddies.

Things to look forward to in 2009

Another new car...
A new sportier MX-5

Paying off debt
I can now earn more than I spend (it's taken me long enough)

Another 4 weddings
Kris and Kirsty, Harriet and Dan, Peter and Lindsey, and Steve and Jenny.

Home improvement
I'm sure April has plenty planned. I have to say that this is the only thing we argue about. She wants to be far too precise and I want to hit stuff with a hammer.

My 30th birthday
The bash of the century will be on the 31st August. Be prepared.

Brick Wall

I've been working on a problem at work all day and i'm not much closer to solving it. I've had enough of it today so it'll have to wait till tomorrow now. Argh!

It's annoying as I felt I was getting somewhere with it but it looks like i'll be starting again from scratch tomorrow. Boo, hoo.

Thankfully I spotted a handful of issues during the course of the day which means it shouldn't take me as long to get get to the same stage (a mess) tomorrow.

Phew!

I've now worked my full 3 months probation period. Woo hoo! That means i'm now on 3 months notice as apposed to 1 week.

It's not that I thought that there was a chance that i'd get the sack. I do a good job. It's just not a great time to me moving around in the market at the moment, Insurance seems to have weathered most things to do with the current financial climate (with the exception of AIG) relatively well but you never know about possible redundancies etc.

Saying that, by all accounts insurance rates are due to go up next near so the future's actually looking rosy.

You'd think it was easy

Just went to go for a wee and I’ve put my boxers on the wrong way round. Doh! It must happen to me 3-4 times a year, just less than 1% of the time. You’d think I’d grow out of that.

I think I may need front and back sewn onto them to avoid any future confusion.

Monday, 29 December 2008

No drinking in January

My plan for January is to re-join a gym and stop drinking for the month.

My gym membership stopped after leaving my last job, I did try and join a new one a month or so ago but as chance would have it there was a fire in the gym (the one I was going to join) underneath work that very morning. December's been a busy month on the social side of things so i've postponed it to the new year. I imagine it'll be packed to begin with but i'll persevere. When I was a member of the last gym I did some form of exercise (including rugby) nearly one in every three days. If I can keep that up i'll be back to my superfit adonis body in no time.

As for the non-drinking, this will be tougher as 90% of my social activities involve drinking. I tried it last year and I think I made 4 days. This year i'm going for 31. Tim said he lost loads of weight when he gave up for a month or two so hopefully that'll happen for me too.

MOT for the cats

We're taking the cats to the vets on Saturday morning. We're just taking them in for a check up, but Biscuit has been coughing recently which is a slight concern so we'd better be save than sorry.

The only problem is we won't have a car by that time so i'm going to have to carry the buggers up and down the hill to get seen. Stupid heavy cats!

New car

April drove this one on Saturday
http://www.drakeandfletcher.co.uk/mazda/UsedCars/view/98881

And loved it, we're getting this one delivered to the garage this Saturday
http://www.drakeandfletcher.co.uk/mazda/UsedCars/view/102795

My preference is the later as it's got a bigger engine, kitted out to be more sporty, has air-con and leather seats.

It a grand more expensive, slightly older and I prefer the grey but I think it's worth the extra.

Wall mount prices

I was bored at lucnch so went looking for a TV aerial for our new bedroom TV. Next to the aerials were wall mounts. One was selling for over £200 pound!

It could hold up to a 52 inch TV but come on...

Wednesday, 24 December 2008

Dennis Binks - Online Clairvoyant

Bored on Christmas Eve morning whith not much else to do I openned up the Corby edition of the Evening Telegraph website.

Nothing too interesting today until I spotted a link to Dennis Binks - Our Online Clairvoyant

http://www.northantset.co.uk/sectionhome.aspx?sectionID=12555

Enjoy...

Oops! Too much activity

My new rugby club's website is off line. Doh! When it's up and running it makes my old club back home look very amateurish.

Tuesday, 23 December 2008

Blah...

An hour and a half to go... Yawn

Not sure if I can take any more of this. A couple of drinks with James at lunchtime certainly helps but i'm so bored!!! It's so quiet here. I've plenty to be getting on with but it's all dull.

zzzzzzzzzzzzz.................

High visability jackets?

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/manchester/7797025.stm

All four members of the gang were dressed in hooded tops, face coverings and two of the men were in distinctive high visibility jackets.

What's the idea behind that? Hoping that the shock of moving from a jacket with high visibility to lowly visibility will make people forget who they are.

Idiots!

I am so bored...

I'm the only member of my team in today.

Yawn. Tick tock, tick tock...

Roll on lunch...

Blog Tracking

Here's some lovely charts showing my blog activity over the last few months. It'll probably pass 2000 visits today.

Monday, 22 December 2008

To Brand New MX-5 or Second Hand MX-5, that is the question

Baz Luhrmann should have have made his film about this quandary rather than the tired story Romeo and Juliet.

We're getting our insurance money soon so we're umming and arring about what to replace our car with. We loved our MX-5 so there's a good chance we'll get another one.

However, should I get a nice brand new one and take the hit of the depreciation?

Watch this space. We're looking into test driving a new MX-5 and an RX8 on Saturday before heading back home for the meal.

£10?

A friend is coming up to his 30th birthday so we've been looking round for presents. As various ideas come indifferent websites pop up.

http://www.firebox.com/product/2186/My-Own-Morph

Here's a great one. £10 for a lump of plasticine. What a bloody waste of money.

Don't worry Kris, this wasn't a suggestion. Just something i've spotted on the site.

Nine Lessons & Carols for Godless People

We arrived at the Hammersmith Apollo early so that I could collect the tickets (they hadn't been posted) but were told that we couldn't get them till after 6:30. That was fine as we wanted to grab a bite to eat before hand.

I met up with the others in a near by Mexican restaurant. It was a tiny little place but the food was fine. The bill came to nearly £100 for 4 people which I felt was a little steep but what can you do?

Anyway... By the time we were back at the Apollo a queue had formed, all waiting to collect their tickets (despite being told there wouldn't be one), it was moving relatively quickly so I wasn't too worried about getting in on time. The last calls were made but we were next to get served.

Surprise, surprise, our tickets weren't there and the box office had no records of me calling up mid week to tell them that our tickets hadn't arrived yet. A big hold up was caused by the idiots not being able to find where we were supposed to be sitting but eventually we were finally given 4 random tickets that allowed us to stand at the back of the stalls. 20-30 minutes after the first section had started. I was fuming!

Stewart Lee's 10 minute slot calmed me down. He really is a great comic. The other acts of note in the first section were Ricky Gervais, a bit too rude for our liking but I did laugh so can't complain. Mark Thomas was good too and it was interesting to find out that he has quite a religious family, including a sister who is also a vicar.

In the interval I went back to the counter to see if they'd managed to find our tickets and Steve got the beers in. She said she couldn't but had managed to get us 4 excellent tickets that were reserved for the manager of the Apollo. When we got there a couple of South African's were in them. I explained that they were ours, they tried to proclaim their innocence and tried to claim them as their own but I pointed out that they were in the wrong row must move so they begrudgingly squeezed into one of the front rows where they belonged. Pissing off a South African, ha, ha! It made the previous heart ache and standing almost worth it.

Our new seats were great, loads of leg room and a great unobstructed view of the rest of the show and the extra two beers we bought each other for the second act.

Jarvis Cocker did a couple of songs, one of his own and a cover. He's a very funny man. And surprisingly more skinny in real life. I don't think he was forced to play rugby as a child. Although I would have paid money to see it.

Dara O'Brien was very good and probably could have gone on for another hour or so. Richard Dorking and Simon Singh added some scientific cheer and the whole lot was finished off by a very talented Australian. Tim Minchin. A very good night indeed.

What a numbnuts

You'll be surprised to hear that this time it's me.

I cleared out the used rail cards from my rail card wallet on Friday. It was only when I placed it on the oyster card reader yesterday that I realised that I must have thrown that out too. I'd only just put £20 on it. Doh!

I think I can claim it back, but it will cost me £3 for a new one, and it cost me an extra £2.50 yesterday and another quid this morning to get in. Doh!

What an idiot.

Friday, 19 December 2008

Over Qualified?

One of our water coolers has stopped working so our maintenance guys have put up a sign saying

"Please do not use, engineers have been called"

Surely they mean handy man, is an engineer a little over qualified? I think you'd be pretty annoyed if you'd went through 3+ years of university to train to be an engineer only to find out that your chosen course led you to work as a water cooler repair man.

BYO Indian restaurant tonight

Mmm. We received a flyer for a new Indian restaurant in Tonbridge last night and seeing as I haven't been to one for a while I think we may give it a trial later on tonight.

It's a bring your own alcohol restaurant so I think they're still waiting for their licence to be approved.

I shouldn't laugh...

... but, you know me. I will anyway.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/7792102.stm

"However, the nose also contains erectile tissue, and this may also become engorged during arousal, triggering the need to sneeze" Eeewww!

Thursday, 18 December 2008

Car update

We bought the car in January last year and it cost us just under £5,000 which included the new MOT, Tax and warranty.

Our insurers originally offered us £2,400, they've now offered us £3,600. I've downloaded Glasses opinion on the car price (cost £3.50) and they reckon a showroom price given a similar make / model / age / condition / mileage would now cost £3,800 to buy.

I think the offer's half decent considering we could probably negotiate on that showroom price.

What to get though... I started looking at Loti (thanks Alan), then MR-2s but I think the MX-5s are perfect for what we need at the moment. We'll probably get another one of those.

Lunchtime 'O' Booze strikes again

I love Christmas.

Kicked ass on the pub golf machine too. 6 holes 2 under. Maybe I should turn pro.

Chinese on the 27th

Our party has now grown to a mighty 12 attendees.

Stu, April, Kris, Kirsty Ben, Ian, Tim, Shaz, Ross, Esther, Dylan and Thingme

If you can think of any more people to invite just let me know. The plan is to grab a beer or two before hand somewhere in Market Harborough, stuff our faces silly with crispy duck and msg then head back to Ross' 'new' house for a few more beers (Although he still has to ask his sister who's living there). Aston said he might be around for the beers afterwards too.

I wait for nearer the time but it might be a good idea to grab a handful beers / drinks before hand and drop them round as I doubt Ross will think ahead and get anything in.

Presents bought and wrapped

All my presents are now bought and wrapped, April may suggest otherwise but it's the best I can do. Only seven days left to go. I'm actually quite excited.

Enigma 2

Yesterday's brain teaser: Toner

Today's is a toughy.

Feral canine, rather shy, though its rep would this belie. In sheep's clothing it plays dumb. Kevin Costner danced with some.

Wednesday, 17 December 2008

It'll be lonely this Christmas...

I've used up this year's holidays now. Boo! Everyone else in my team has at least 5 left out of the 8.5 working days for the year. I can see it being a very slow couple of weeks.




Metro: Enigma

I read the Metro most mornings on my way into work. I've got between 40 and 50 mins of sitting on my so arse and a quick skim read of the 'news' and sport plus completing the three sudoku usually keeps my brain occupied. However i'm getting much better at sudoku which means I have more time to look at the other puzzles. One puzzle is called the ENIGMA. Here's today's conundrum...

If your office printer starts spouting sheets with missing parts, then this component could be low. Replace the cartridge; off you go.

Any ideas???

Who do they think we are? Bloody idiots!

Where's Ricky Gervais gone?

http://www.barflyclub.com/theapollo/whatson/event/20822.aspx

This is the list I had when booking

Sunday, December 21, 2008 @ 7:30 PM Nine Lessons & Carols for Godless People

Ricky Gervais
Robin Ince
Richard Dawkins
Stewart Lee
Chris Addison
Ben Goldacre
Mark Thomas
Simon Singh
Josie Long
Justin Edwards
Martin White Fax Machine Orchestra

I'm not saying I wouldn't have went if Ricky Gervais wasn't on the line up but I think it's a bit of a swizz. It's similar to going to a Rolling Stones gig then when you turn up they've been replaced by Bryan Adams. The tickets weren't cheap, £36 each including booking fee and I ended up buying 4.

Let's hope the Very Special guests are Eddie Izzard, and David Baddiel, and maybe to add to the Christmasy theme perhaps Chevy Chase.

Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Sunday night

I had my friends John and Ros staying over on Sunday night. They arrived a little late so we ended up booking a table at a local Italian restaurant at the top end of the High Street.

As luck would have it, it happened to be a Frank Sinatra night, with a half decent impersonator. As lame as this sounds it was actually quite funny and we had a good laugh. It was embarrassing when he walked by all the tables asking for you to join in but thankfully we were right at the back so he tended not to bother us.

Which one is the mouse?

This is the life. All I need is an extra pair of hands, one for the laptop and one for the TV remote.


Tree inspection

Poppet taking a closer look. It's covered in decorations now. Let's hope they haven't destroyed it by the time I get home tonight...

Thursday, 11 December 2008

What a view

Here’s a photo from my recent trip to Edinburgh, or to be more precise it was taken somewhere in between Manchester and Birmingham on my way back about 30,000 feet up.

Can you tell which airline I used?


Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Varsity Match

I’ve been invited to this year’s Varsity match at Twickenham tomorrow afternoon. Steve invited me, Deloitte have a bunch of tickets so are taking a load of clients out. I think they must have been scraping the barrel when they came down to asking me (the day before).

Three problems

1) I’m really busy at work
2) My Christmas Ball is on in the evening so logistics may be a problem
3) I haven’t asked my boss yet


Answers to problems

1) I can work late tonight, and the guy who i'm doing work for has been invited too so he can hardly complain
2) I’ll bring my DJ into work and head back there after the match, we’ve got a shower so everything should be fine.
3) Any ideas???

Congratulation to April!

April passed all of her exams! All she needs now is for her course providers to pull thier fingers out and pass her piece of course work.

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

FM has died

I tried running it last night to finish off my season with Newcastle and it stopped working. I tried reinstalling but the problem stayed the same.

Something about an XML parsing problem with the shortcut???

I searched for it and there's a few bits and pieces out there but couldn't get it to work. I'll try again tonight. If worse becomes worst i'll just get myself a new laptop...

Should the RSPCA be informed?

Poor dog. I hope they spoilt it afterwards.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/7771259.stm

Monday, 8 December 2008

Tired

I'm tired now. Although the weekend up in Edinburgh wasn't particularly energetic i've been very tired today.

I really am old. At least i'm not getting grey hair. Eh Tim?

Tuesday, 2 December 2008

Spam

I've had the same e-mail address for over ten years now and spam is something that I just take on the chin. It's certainly annoying but once your address is on a list there's not much you can do about it.

My question is this, which idiot clicks on the links and follows through with giving the companies money? I've had the same spam for years.

Do I need

-A bigger penis?
-Sex with a random girl?
-Cheap viagra?
-or to help people move money from Africa?

I need none of these...

My point is that I've been getting these messages for years. And I assume so has everyone else. Why would anyone suddenly decide that one in particular was non spam?

Two options.

1) They're an idiot
2) They're a fcuking idiot

I probably get 4 or 5 a day between my accounts. And I put my blame solely on the idiots. If the spammers got no interest, they wouldn't continue to bombard e-mail accounts.

York Cathedral

If you haven't been to York before I recommend you going. Lots of shops and ye olde worlde pubs.

Here's a picture of the Cathedral just before dark.

Spooky!

SC's Girlfriend Conversation Interest Gauge

Pi * r2 * Height = volume = gulp size during conversation topic.

My Mazda has died

We tried to drive up to Manchester on Saturday as it was our two year anniversary, we managed to get 10 miles away when I noticed some squeaking coming from the engine. At first I though it was the CD (The Darkness) but then steam started coming out. As we were pulling off the motorway the engine stopped, luckily not in a dangerous place.

We called the AA and they took us to our hotel, the car was too badly damaged for roadside recovery and our cover didn't include towing the car back home. Luckily I'm also a member of the AA via my Dad's membership which does include that and also our warranty though the Mazda garage.

We called Mazda first and they were there within a couple of hours. He spotted a big hole in the radiator and then when the car wouldn't start said he suspected the head gasket was probably gone. Great! He seemed confident that it would be covered under the warranty though.

In the morning Mazda arranged a hire car (Ford Fiesta) so we drove to York on Sunday as planned. We then drove all the way back yesterday.

I am currently waiting for a call from the Mazda garage near home (where the car was dropped off yesterday) to find out if it's going to be free or it's going to be very expensive indeed!

Wish me luck.

Friday, 28 November 2008

Cat v's Cap, who's the most dweeby?

My department is split in two, Catastrophe modellers and Capital modellers (i'm in the later) and we all went out for a departmental Christmas lunch yesterday. Yes it's November.

We ended up going to a Strada on St Kathryne's Dock. Nothing special but I didn't have to pay so pretty good. On the way back I turned round and spotted the Cat modellers sneaking into the pub for a cheeky sharp half.

My lot continued back to work...

It is now my mission to change this.

Is $60 too much?

Is $60 too much for eggnog glasses?

QI

I went to see a talk put on by the creators of QI last night.

We went to a Dimt first (Dim sum) resaurant then on to a UCL lecture theatre near by. IT was odd going back to a university, I was the oldest in the room until a couple of old ladies turned up.

The QI creators John Lloyd and John Mitchinson were there to sell their new book (which I now have a signed copy for my Dad's Christmas present). It's basically a book of quotations (a toilet book), mostly quite funny.

The guys talked about how the series was created and various other aspects of the show plus a handful of other random bits and bobs. The openned it up to questions afterwards so I asked

Was any one else considered for the Stephen Fry role

The answer is yes. It was originally going to be Michael Palin, with Stephen as a fellow team captain pitting the toffs against the non toffs (Alan Davis). Michael Palin pulled out as he felt he wasn't intelligent enough so they asked Stephen to step in for the pilot. It worked so they kept it that way. Quite interesting really.

Afterwards we went to a nearby pub for a couple of drinks and who should turn up? The two John's with their publicists. They sat down next to us, and to cut a long story short April discussed how do you get to become a QI elf. She now has the details so we're going to certainly look into it.

All in all a successful evening. We must look into doing more like it.

Thursday, 27 November 2008

Model building

Here's a picture of part of the latest Remetrica model i've been building.

Basically the boxes on the left are insurance companies, the middle boxes are reinsurance layers and the boxes on the right are aggregating the losses. If I could zoom out further to the left there are catastrophes that model large losses to hit the insurers.

The next stage is to run it through 50,000 simulations to see how much money we'd make or lose.

Tuesday, 25 November 2008

Amazon

I've just ordered 6 Christmas presents from Amazon, and asked Amazon to bundle as much as it could in one load to save postage and packaging.

For the most part I think they've managed it. I'm impressed with the speed of service but this takes the p!ss. It's not as if I needed them urgently!!!

1 of Kookamunga Catnip Bubbles, £2.99* *above item(s)

sold by and shipped from The Ianick Trading Company Ltd.

---------------------------------------------------------------------

Item Subtotal: £2.99
Shipping & Handling: £2.75
otal: £5.74
Paid by Visa: £5.74

I'm glad I don't earn over £200k per year...

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/7746241.stm

Doh, always aim higher

My boss asked me if I had any IT issues that wanted raising at his monthly meeting with IT. I said that i'd like a bigger monitor.

Result: I'm moving from a 15 inch (still don't know why I was given this) to a 19 inch.

Pretty good you might think, however I think I should have asked for more. I'd have preferred two. Or even two 17 inches.

Half price on Le Creuset at Amazon

Steve's getting us a nice cooking pot for Christmas, although i'm not sure where from. They're half price from Amazon so hopefully he hasn't bought it yet as there's no point in waisting money.

Just think of the poor old postie trying to carry one of these cast iron sets up our hill.

Ha, ha!

Monday, 24 November 2008

Choice Quotes, Comedy Gold

http://www.northantset.co.uk/corby/Shoppers39-glee-at-Corby-Primark.4713091.jp

“Primark is good value. I'm planning to buy anything and everything.”

“You can go in there with a tenner and get a month's worth of clothes."

Second in the queue, Jackie Doherty, from Corby's Exeter estate, took a day off work to be at the launch. She said: "It's great for cheap clothes."

Director of Primark Stores Ltd Breege O'Donoghue spoke about the history of Corby and its famous sons, including gymnastics star Daniel Keatings and Gladiators referee John Anderson.

---------------

I didn't know that John Anderson was from Corby. He kept that quiet.

John 'Kipper' Anderson

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gladiators_(UK_TV_series)#John_Anderson

Or did they mean this guy?
http://www.movinghere.org.uk/stories/story10/story10.htm?identifier=stories/story10/story10.htm

Friday, 21 November 2008

Thieving bastards

I’ve just found out that my rail fare for next year is going to go up by 9.5%!

How can they justify it?

I’ve just rushed through my season ticket loan through work so I won’t have to pay for that until next December but I think it’s pretty poor. By getting the season ticket loan I save £417 per year (because I’m currently buying monthly tickets), by doing it now I’ll ‘save’ £717.

Thursday, 20 November 2008

Inflation, what inflation?

Reports yesterday suggested the rate of increase in inflation was reducing, i.e. it's still positive but not as positive as before.

Well... I did an BBC survey which asked me various questions to determine my person inflation experience (not my ego or belly). I guess it's just a weighted average. Looks like i'm doing okay on that front with a flat inflation v's the rest of the country.

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Oops!

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/7736996.stm

Bluewater

I had yesterday off so that Virgin could install broadband and a phone line to our house (We've finally gotten rid of BT). He was booked in to come in the morning and duly turned up at 12:50. But that was the only complaint. He was very good and sorted everything out within an hour. The broadband worked straight away and I now have a 7 kbps, I think it was around 2 or three before.

In the afternoon I decided to head over to Bluewater shopping centre, apparently it's one of Europe's biggest. It was huge. I can see why they called it Bluewater though, it was either that of 'Old disused chalk mine WATER'.

As soon as I got out of the car I was annoyed. In the distance I could hear Jingle Bell Rock! Argh! It's over a month away. All of the usual Christmas tripe was blaring out of the Winter Wonderland Village. In reality it was a bunch of chalets (large garden sheds) selling Christmas lights, and other tat.

Then the real horror revealed itself. April assured me that it was much more upper class than Lakeside. It was full of council estate dwelling pram pushers. Urgh! Where do they get the money to go shopping round there? Every other buggie had a fat child in there stuffing their greasy faces with a burger king.

Sorry James, no photos.

In short, I hated it. I won't be going again for quite a while, unless April is there to protect me.

On a note but similarly themed, I caught the tail end of this (Charlie Brooker's Screenwipe) last night. Excellent! A man after my own heart. Watch and enjoy.

Blacklist victim number 1

http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5jMpuIk3Kj6SsU2chnnP6tyHKC2rgD94HG4LG0

Watch out BT...

Monday, 17 November 2008

What a read...

My boss has just bought the entire team a copy of Introductory Statistics with Applications in General Insurance by Hossack, Pollard and Zehnwirth.

Whoopee!

Chapters of note include

The Natural Logarithm function Ln x
Continuous Random Variables and their Distributions

but my favourite is of course

A Bayesian approach to the updating of claim frequency rates

We're going to be having a series of lectures throughout next term... oops, I meant to say year.

Thirty

I turn the big three zero next year, I know, it's a surprise to me too. The signs are beginning to appear though. I can't stay up to much past 12, my joints ache after only the bare minimum of exercise and of course everyone keeps reminding / taking the piss. I'm still holding onto my mid-to-late-twenties though.

I'm the youngest out of my school year, Ben turns 30 this Thursday, Kris on New Years, Tim - March, Ian, June 27th, Shaz 24th August and Ross had his birthday earlier in September. The truth is that everyone is making much more of a deal about me turning 30 than me.

The worst of which was the nurse at the blood donor reception this morning. She doesn't even know me and decided to have a laugh.

This all might be because i've been winding my older friends up for quite a while now. One wind up of note was the Markus-Old-Age-O-Nator. In the run up to his 30th (4 years ago) I created a spreadsheet to analyse how old he was in comparison to all the famous Germans I knew.

My plan will be to have a meal and a few beers somewhere. Come one, come all, but i'm not paying.

Energywatch

I received a letter in the post from EDF (Energy supplier) on Saturday. In the letter it stated that they were going to change our monthly direct debit from £30 to £70 a month, and 'not to worry' they'll change the details so that it automatically comes out of our account as usual.

I rang the idiots up and after a minute of explaining that despite paying £30 a month for the last 3 months we were still in fact £45 in credit he said that we were correct and he's left it at the same level.

Two options here, either they've employed idiots to automise their billing or as the economy is feeling the pinch they're trying to get more money up front (investment income) then repay the difference at the end of the year.

Idiots!

It really does make you think about how much some companies care about their customers.

Stuart's 3 strikes and you're out policy starts today. They have one life left after messing up the transfer of our gas account from British Gas.

Companies on my blacklist

BT
Carphonewarehouse

Please feel free to add any more.

The only way companies will learn is if we stop giving them money.

Friday, 14 November 2008

Zombie arm

The bruise on my arm has turned a nice shade of zombie...
I'm giving blood in that arm on Monday morning. I wonder what she'll say.

Thursday, 13 November 2008

Wednesday, 12 November 2008

Ho, ho, ho! Merry Christmas!

Everyone in my company is getting an extra payment of £2,667 (before tax) in our November pay packets! Ha, ha, ha!

Our company had something called an employment trust where each year staff were given money, I think it was some kind of ownership / profit share. We've just been bought by a huge Japanese firm (March / April) so they now own the company out right. Employees were given a lump sum each to compensate them as they would no longer be getting the annual payments. This is an additional payment as a result of a tax refund.

I've only been here for six weeks, ha, ha, ha! One lucky guy in my department joined today which just happened to be the cut off date.

I can now afford...

-X-box 360
-TV
-April's presents

Football Manager Update

Football Manager is released on Friday but I will not have a laptop to play it on. Dell cocked up my order (placed on the 5th) and never got round to telling me.

I've re-ordered today and my eta is on or before the 20th! Idiots!

Unless I can be arsed playing it on a fruity mac power book, I guess i'll have to wait. I have got Kris' x-box so it's not all bad

Stand up, if you hate Tottenham...

A bit blurry as it was on full zoom and I probably wasn't the most steady after 5 pints of lager but here's a photo from last night's game.

3-0 to Arsenal

Peter the git won £14 for first scorer, I still think it was fixed, despite the fact that I created the randomly generating name-out-of-a-hat-o-nator.

Their new stadium is very impressive, someday Liverpool will get something like that.

The funniest thing for me that night was every 10 minutes some idiot in the crowd would stand up and shout, "Stand up if you hate Tottenham" to Go West by the Pet Shop Boys. They weren't even playing, maybe they knew that on of our group was a fan (I don't mean of the Pet Shop Boys). Idiots!

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

New TV

As mentioned a number of times before, i'm thinking about getting an x-box. I've now played Fallout 3 and if that's used as a benchmark of what games are like I might go out and by one tomorrow.

The logical place for it to go would be in our study. This would mean getting new TV.

What size? Origianlly I thought, get a massive new one for downstairs and use my old Samsung in the study, I then thought it would probably be too big for that small a room. Great! That means I can get a smaller TV (much cheaper) which would make the whole purchase much more feasable.

I've been in touch with my South Korean friend (the guy who's friend works at Samsung) and he reckons we can get another good deal. No spreadsheet this time though, i've got to find one I like and then they'll tell me how much they can sell one to us for.

I think 21 inches will be enough and possibly with a freeview TV tuner installed. April can watch Ugly Betty to her hearts content up there...

April's presents

April's asked for three and a half presents this year.

-Nintendo DS
-New Watch
-Electronic Kitchen Scales
-Handbag (I think she wants a handbag as she made me take a detour round a department store to show me)

By my assessment, that's going to cost me loads! Doh!

At least she's easy to buy for i.e. she knows what she wants, and has told me.

In the run up to Christmas last year I bought myself a watch and a nice scarf, April'd already bought me a scarf and was going to buy me a watch. Oops!

This year i've asked for a i-pod / mp3 player speaker dock thingy for the living room. It's kind of a present for the house but i've got pretty much everything I want (that's not too expensive). Most of my presents seem to be along those lines. Food processor, kitchen radio...

One day holiday left

I've got 4 days off till they reset back to 25 in January, three have already been alocated, so I have one spare.

I'm using one for a long weekend in Manchester and York with April (we're staying at another Hotel du Vin (I think we're addicted to the big baths)), i'm using one the Friday after that to fly up and see Tim in Edinburgh (I've been meaning to pop up for a visit for ages) and i've booked next Tuesday off from work to let Virgin in to install our broadband and phone line.

What shall I do with my remaining day? I don't want to waste it over the Christmas period as it's usually quite relaxing, you've got less redgit start times and often get let out early. I don't want to waste it to go shopping as i'm thinking about doing that in the afternoon after the Virgin dude turns up.

April has no more left so i'm open to suggestions. ??? Does anyone else have a remaining day that they fancy doing something with?

Arsenal v's Wigan tonight

I'm to see Arsenal play Wigan tonight at the Emirate Stadium with a bunch of guys from Lloyd's. I've set up a sweep steak which I may try and ramp up to £5 each (£35 total) that'll keep it interesting if Arsenal only play their children.

Should be fun, although it'll will be a late one. Kick-off's at 7:45, if you add on two hours ish it'll be close to 10. Then i'll have to get the tube back down to London Bridge and then catch a train. Thankfully it's not going to rain like it has over the past few days tonight.

Tomorrow morning's going to be productive... luckily my only meeting that day is at 2.

It's on TV tonight too so you may spot me shivering!

Monday, 10 November 2008

Busy week

After a busy but non-boozy weekend (by normal standards) I am absolutely shattered. I'm going straight home in a minute and putty my poor feet up.

Friday, out with Steve and Jenny for a meal
Saturday, got thumped at rugby then drove to Nottingham to see the Mighty Boosh
Sunday, lunch with Ben and Ian then driving home to Tonbridge

This week I already have three nights out planned,

Tuesday, Arsenal v's Wigan
Thursday, beers with Markus and Steve, randomly organised today
Friday, drinks with my old uni flat mate Annie.

I want to have a couple of beers after my game this Saturday as I haven't had much of a chance to do so yet but i'm going to have to go straight home otherwise i'll be shattered once more.

I really am getting old. And running out of money too!

Message from Dell

Your order has been located.

Dear Customer,

Thank you for choosing Dell.

Your order is being custom-built to your requirements at our factory.

As we custom build each order to your exact specification, it can take up to ten working days to build and deliver your order.

-----------------------------
I'm only ordering a power pack replacement!

Owey! That's got to smart a bit.

I caught some guys stud on my bicep during my game on Saturday. Believe me, it hurts more than it looks.

Friday, 7 November 2008

Am I from a different planet?

This film (Let's Talk About The Rain) has been given 5 stars by Empireonline http://www.empireonline.com/reviews/review.asp?FID=135772

"Quite simply, wonderful." David Parkinson

It's got all the things in a film I hate, feminism, no explosions or guns, it's arty farty and to top it all off it's also in French!!!

Sorry April, but I will not be taking you to see this. And thank Jebus i've stopped my Lovefilm membership.

Despite the small sample size, it's good to see IMdb have more taste

IMdb rating 6.8 / 10 with 144 votes

Thursday, 6 November 2008

Speed dials

I've been setting up the speed dials on my new phone and I sruggled to add any more than 3.

1=Voicemail
2=April
3=Steve (and that's a push)
4=Honeymoon Chinese Take-away
5= ...

I don't call anyone else enough to warrant giving them a speed dial

My lap top has died

The power cord for my laptop has been a bit dodgy for a few months now and I’ve finally gotten round to ordering it yesterday afternoon. It now doesn’t work at all so my laptop has died (ran out of juice).

It had better arrive soon as the new FM is out next Friday!

Luckily i'm out tonight and tomorrow so and am borrowing Kris' x-box this weekend so I won't have a chance to miss it.

Am I pregnant?

... or just a fat bastard?

Despite having two portions of April's lasagna last night, a sausage sandwich, banana, 5 strawberries, 3 prunes and a plum this morning a salami and cheese sandwich, soup, bread roll and crisps I am nly just full.

What's wrong with me? I never usually eat this much. I'm meeting up with a good few of my old Lloyd's buddies at Auberge (Mark Lane) tonight as it's £2 a pint till 8pm. Unfortunately the weakest beer on tap is a Stella so maybe my body is telling me to stock up.

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

Grounding over, but only with supervision

We finally let the cats out again on Sunday afternoon. It’s given us another couple of scares but seems to be working.

To show the cat how to use the cat flap we stuffed Biscuit though, for some reason she didn’t really like this and bolted of down the side of the house. We managed to find her but she wouldn’t budge so I had to entice her in with fishy treats. Being a greedy fat cat it worked. I then managed to grab her whilst standing on a chair and as I was manoeuvring to throw her in the house the chair slipped and she bolted off again. After this we just taped the cat flap open and she came on her own accord 5 minutes later.

We’ve been letting them out each night after we get in, and they now quite happily go in and out as they please. Biscuit was still out when we wanted to go to bed so we ended up having to leave the cat flap taped open.

We were rudly awoken by Poppet’s meowing this morning, she used to do this all the time when Biscuit was on her travels so we thought the worse. Upon opening the bedroom door both cats were there. Phew!

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Ooh! New Sharpe

Just seen an advert for new Sharpe on ITV.

Free day off

For those that didn't know, I was given a free day off yesterday. A fire had broken out in the gym below my work and smoke had filled the whole building. All power was shut off to the building so we were all sent home.

I ended up walking to St Paul's and met up with Steve and April for lunch. It was quite interesting really, there was a British Legion memorial going on.

I watched a League of Extraordinary Gentleman and Lucky Number Sleven when I got home later in the afternoon.

Sunday, 2 November 2008

Free beer

I was walking home on Friday night when I bumped into an old colleague. We ended up meeting up with another and having 3 pints of Hobgoblin (Halloween). The third round was the best, I ordered, she served me then she walked away and started serving other people. We then snuck away with our hoard.

Hopefully she just forgot, but I suspect the poor guy next to us in the queue had to pay, he told another barmaid to put his round on his card that was already behind the bar. Our barmaid may have overheard and assumed she meant our drinks.

Ha, ha

Friday, 31 October 2008

And then he blagged himself an X-box 360

I'm thinking about the possibility of getting an X-Box 360. I've wanted to play a few games recently and my beast of a laptop can't quite cut it.

It'll add up as i'll need a new TV too (April will never let me play all night downstairs), this all pushes into the £750+ bracket which would eat into my new laptop in May fund.

The lovely chap that Kris is, is going to let me borrow his next weekend so I can give it a trial run.

Style and Substance

On the commute in this morning a guy across from me had a new Apple Air Book. Show off...

Then I had a look at what operating system he was using. Windows Vista. Ha, ha!

Argh! Bloody Royal Mail

I got home from work tonight to find a failed delivery notice from the Royal Mail. It's for my new phone and because I wasn't there to sign for it I must go and collect it at the sorting office.

Fair enough.

Looking at the back it says that the opening times are 7am to 5:30pm. Great, i've missed it tonight but i'll be able to get up 30 mins earlier and pick y shiny new toy up in the morning.

I walked to the post office this morning at around 7:15 and it was shut. The sorting office opens at 9:30! Argh!!! Idiots!

I'll be contactable from tomorrow now.

Thursday, 30 October 2008

New chest of drawers

A little while ago I said that April could buy a new chest of drawers for our bedroom with some of the extra money i'm getting in the new job. This has now turned into

A chest of drawers, a new coffee table and a bookshelf / entertainment stand. What was supposed tocost me £100, it's now costing me the best part of £300.

How did that happen?

Free booze

We had Molton Brown at work last night, they're trying to sell there wares with a slight discount on the run up to Christmas (I know, nearly 2 months away but I won't go into that rant just now).

I had a quick look to see if there was anything I could get April / Mum, but it was mostly large gift sets which were selling for a minimum of £50. There was free wine and nibbles however so I made the most of that before heading off to see Steve over towards Waterloo in a Shepherd Neame pub (South Eastern chain of real ale pubs), the Rose and Crown.

http://www.fancyapint.com/pubs/pub1013.html

I had a handful of beers and headed home, picked up a Chinese takeaway and watched Match of the Day. Not a bad impromptu evening really.

Wednesday, 29 October 2008

One month in the new job

I've now done one month in the new job. So far so good and all that.

The bigegst change so far is that i'm drinking less lunch time beers. Boo says my brain, yeah says my liver... During my notice period at the last place I was out 2/3 times a week with a minimum of 2 beers. My record is 5 stellas...

Tuesday, 28 October 2008

I'd never make a Spook

Just watching the 2nd new Spooks on BBC (April's a big fan) and it's got me thinking. I would never make a spook.

I'd have to stop the blog for a start. Plus of course the fact that i'm a major gossip queen, as soon as I found out any juicy national secrets i'd be blabbing them to the first person I saw.

New Phone

I've just ordered a new phone through Vodafone. I'm getting the Nokia N96.

I had the N95 and it was an excellent phone (until it broke) so i'm really looking forward to it. I should get it over the next couple of days.

I was going to follow Kris' advice and go with 3 but looking at a handful of reviews online they have pretty poor customer service. I've had a lifetime of terrible customer service woes recently with Carphone Warehouse so I just don't want to risk it.

The deal's virtually the same so i'm not massively fussed.

Monday, 27 October 2008

What a momentous occasion...

From now on today shall forever be called F'You Carphone Warehouse Day!

After much pain and anguish I have finally been given my PAC code so I can port my number and never pay the evil company any more money.

Whoop, whoop!

Saturday, 25 October 2008

Pumpkin madness

I bought a pumpkin today, a nice big fat one, a picture will shortly follow. Next to the pumpkin shelf there was a pumpkin carving kit. It was only £2 so I thought what the hell.

At the check in counter the poor girl got confused as she thought she needed permission for her supervisor to sell me orange juice. When the supervisor came over it turned out that it was for the pumpkin carving kit. Being under 18 she wasn't authorised to sell it to me.

Bloody hell! What self respecting hoodie would be seen dead trying to stab somebody with an orange pumpkin blade?

Idiots!


Anyway, here's April's handy work. Not bad eh?

First chink in the Mazda's armour

It wouldn't start this morning. The car turns over but not quite enough juice to start the engine. A drained battery perhaps??? But that totals the amount of knowledge that I know about cars. We opened the bonnet and couldn't even work out what part was the battery.

Luckily, we have a years warranty that came from the Mazda garage so someone will be round within the hour.

Friday, 24 October 2008

Tick-tock, tick-tock

This afternoon’s dragged so much. Tick, tock, tick tock. 3 0mins to go. I've done all my work but my boss (') have been away all day so i've got nothing left to do.

At least at Gallaghers I would have had 3-4 pints inside me to keep me entertained…I’ve been virtually tea total here.

Comedy is the new rock and roll

I'm off to see this with Steve, Jenny and April in December.

Nine Lessons & Carols for Godless People

featuring Ricky Gervais / Robin Ince / Richard Dawkins / Stewart Lee / Chris Addison / Ben Goldacre / Mark Thomas / Simon Singh / Josie Long / Justin Edwards / Martin White Fax Machine Orchestra It was pretty expensive but should be good.

Interesting casting

I was flicking through TV channels last night and watched a few minutes of the new Terminator: Sarah Connor Chronicles.

And look who I spotted.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shirley_Manson

One of the new characters was no other than the lead singer from Garbage.

Well I never. What will those crazy Americans think of next???

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

Look, no arms


Who stole my cat's hands?

He, he, he...

Our pay slips have just been handed round so I took a look at how much i'll be getting on my first pay day (Monday). He, he, he!

The last month has been tough as i'd used up too many holidays up at the last place (pro-rata) so they took £400 off my final months salary. Coupled with that I also had to go to another wedding (2 nights in a hotel) plus I had the trip to Spain (which didn't turn out to be that expensive but it all adds up).

Anyway, he, he, he! This month i've been given an extra £1,200!!!! It should reduce next month as there are no pension contributions this month but he, he, he!

I will be a good boy and pay off a load of credit card debt, but as a special treat, i've told April she can buy a chest of drawers with some of it.

Credit Crunch? My arse!

Cat Cave

The cats have started using the Cat Cave


I had to entice them in with treats but they now like it.

Monday, 20 October 2008

SC Movie Review 24

Burn After Reading

I like the Coen Brothers, I don't think they've made a film I haven't enjoyed. This is no exception. Great characters, great dialog, superb cast and a funny story to boot.

A couple of gym staff find a CD full of sensitive CIA data and try to sell it back to the owner. Trouble ensues in a complex series of interconnected stories.

Brad Pitt is good, as is George Clooney. Francis McDormand is again excellent but the star of the show is John Malkovich.

A must see.

SC Rating: 7.9 / 10 (1 vote)
AP Rating: 8.0 / 10 (1 Vote)
IMdb Rating: 7.8 / 10 (17654 Votes)

Lookilikie

Is Stuart Pearce Rodney from Only Fools and Horses?

Stop the press

I've found a worse Rock Band singer than Kris.

Shaheen! The man has no tone, scrach that, he does have tone, just one type, monotone.

Thanks for coming down guys, it was good to see everyone.

10 people + 2 cats stayed over which was a bit of a push but I had my own room with April so we were fine.

Disaster averted

I somehow accidentally slipped my Football Manager CD in between the gap between the cd drive and the laptop.

Doh!

It was stuck for about 15 minutes, and we tried everything, tweezers, unscrewing the base, eventually I managed to tease enough of it out to give it a good yank!

It's free! And actually still works. It would have been a month without FM if i'd have broken it!

Friday, 17 October 2008

Cat Update: 2

The Clark-Parker household is now up to full compliment. April received two calls last night with the whereabouts of Biscuit.

One call was to say that she was in a neighbours garden the other was from a nice family who managed to entice her into their kitchen and kept them for us till we got back.

Thank you Tonbridge.

Other than hungry Biscuit seems fine, back to normal in fact. Poppet seems happier too. I think she really missed Biscuit.

Thursday, 16 October 2008

Don't let a small thing like death get in the way

I started reading Robert Jorden's Wheel of Time series of books back in January. They're good books but at times they are a bit slow.

Sadly he died before finishing the 12th and final books of the twelvilogy. Luckily Brandon Sanderson will finish the 12th book A Memory of Light, it's due at some point in 2009. They're each about 1,000 pages long and i'm currently halfway through the 6th Lord of Chaos.

By my estimation, assuming the same rate of reading I will have finished the 11th book on Sunday the 2nd of August 2009. Hopefully, the last book will be ready just in time for me to read it. Saying that, I can't see myself buying a hardback version so I may have to wait a little bit longer.

Cat Update: 1

Operation letter drop had a major success this morning.

We got a call from someone this morning whilst April was in the bath.

Someone on The Drive (street that backs onto our back garden) said she was in her garden at that very minute so we ran over with fishy treats.

We saw her but she must have been scared and she went into another garden. Bloody little thing!

At least she looked well. We’ll keep you all posted…

Wednesday, 15 October 2008

Operation letter drop complete

I printed out a load of colour leaflets with Biscuit's photo on earlier today and we've just posted about 100 of them. Hopefully someone will call.

We've also phoned the people who store the microchip data and have reported her missing.

She'll turn up soon. The bloody stupid cat!

Still only one cat

But not to fear... Catchat.org are here to save the day

If you feel particularly spiritually connected to your cat, you may like to try some visualization techniques, employed by some animal communicators. This is still quite a new and little understood area, and will not appeal to everyone, however if you think this is something you would like to try, print off the following PDF written by a practising communicator
http://www.catchat.org/visualize.pdf

Stu news

I thought i'd try something different this morning and made myself a Jasmin tea.

Yuk! I don't like Jasmin tea.

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

We're missing a cat!!!

Biscuit has gone missing!

Our friend who was feeding them over the weekend whilst we were away on holiday last saw her on Sunday.

I hope she's okay. We've been out looking for her but no joy. She may have been in but the cat flap's been set to in and out so we just don't know.

Poppet's missing you.

Now cats can only get in. Hopefully when we get home from work tomorrow the silly little cat will be back home.


Bloody cats!!!

I see your £37bn and I raise it by $176bn

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/7668704.stm

Where is all this money coming from?

Thursday, 9 October 2008

Design flaws

I found the stationary cupboard at work today so have acquired myself a couple of pens. One of them is a Gel Grip pen.

The lid doesn’t stay on the end of the pen (non-nib end). I know pens probably isn’t what the designer wanted to specialise in having left university but come on…

Other than writing, having the lid stay on the top of the pen is one of key design points, otherwise there is an increased likelihood of losing said lid and drying out the ink. Or maybe that’s deliberate, they want you to be replacing your pen more often.

Either way, it’s annoying.

Wednesday, 8 October 2008

Comedy: Tomorrow

April's got her last two exams tomorrow so am treating her to some comedy

http://www.pappysfunclub.co.uk/

We saw them randomly at the Crobar (see earlier posts) and were excellent. Hopefully they'll have changed their set.

Oh my god... what a stupid story

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/london/7659353.stm

There are so many things wrong with this story...

-'The dog, called Asbo' :- what the fcuk!
-'The men were trying to hit the dog with a fire extinguisher' :- because that's handy. Wasn't it holding a baby in it's mouth???
-'Eventually a man came on to the green in a pickup truck and tried to run the dog over' :- wasn't it still holding the baby???
-'The dog went berserk and started chasing the man in the truck down the road. ' : - the man was in a truck. What could the dog possibly do???

The owner should have been the one that was shot.

Cat flaps

I still have two cats.
They've used the flap for a day now and they're still coming home, so we must be doing something right.

I think she's still annoyed about the collar though...

I'm not dreading going into work

Something must be right at my new company.

I'm not dreading getting up in the morning, knowing that i've got to sit through boredom for eight hours his a horrible feeling. Time's flying quickly here and so far so good...

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

Is it Christmas already?

The two cats are like Donner and Blitzen!

We've had the cat flap fitted so April bought the cats a nice new belled collar each as they are now allowed outside and doesn't want them to catch any birds.

What a difference half a mile makes

I went out for lunch and a walk today and bumped into 4 ex colleagues, when I was at Gallaghers I rarely saw anyone I knew, unless I deliberately went out to see someone.

This strikes me as being a very poor choice of location for my previous employer, half of all insurance business in the city is down to relationships and networking. If the office is no where near the real action you are always going to get less business.

On top of that there were also two strip joints on the street too, one Incidentally called 'Bar Oops!', there were three, but that got shut down as it was suspected of also being a knocking shop.

Dear me...

Monday, 6 October 2008

The great escape

Whilst April is at home studying today we're taking the opportunity to get a cat flap fitted in the side door of our house.

Despite their best efforts of escaping, sneaking into our bedroom (the only room with the windows open) and tunnelling through the carpet. The cats have been locked indoors for nearly 3 weeks.

Hopefully i'll still have two cats by the end of the day.

Sunday, 5 October 2008

A Long Good Weekend

An ex Lloyd's colleague invited me over to Newquay this weekend for his wedding. It was good fun but the timings could have been much better. We had to be there by 10:15 in the morning so this meant leaving Tonbridge on the Friday night and having to stay overnight in Exeter.

It took us 4 and a half hours to drive back yesterday which is an excellent time but it's just tiring. I am shattered today and that's despite going to bed at just gone 10.

Thankfully no more weddings for the rest of the year, it's a tiring and very expensive experience. I think we've spent over a grand this year, I can't see it being much less next year.

Aprrox:
Hotel: £380
Travel: £200
Booze: £200
Presents: £350
Total: £1,130


I have 4 to go to next year too...

Friday, 3 October 2008

Avoiding the credit crunch: Become a comdedian

I had an e-mail from the theatre where Eddie Izzard performing his London gigs yesterday and it mentioned that you could pre-book tickets now to avoid the masses and get in there first. Luckily he was in London on Ben's birthday weekend so I checked prices and e-mailed round to see who would be interested.

£60!

Other than 'because he can' I don't know how he can justify £60. We saw him earlier in the year and he was funny, but not £60 worth of funy. I looked into going to see Steve Coogan a while back too and he was £50+.

Obviously comedy is one of the few things to avoid the credit crunch.

Thursday, 2 October 2008

Google analytics

Since the 10th July, I have had

-1050 visits
-2045 page views
-268 unique visitors

to this Blog.

The cats are in the bad books

I think my brothers cats left a little present behind after their stay a few weeks back.

I think they p!ssed on the door mat just inside the front door. Now our cats are taking on the problem buy spraying it themselves. Yuk! Apparently tea tree oil will put them off going near it but the house still stinks. Bloody things!

Hopefully after we let them out of the house when the cat flap gets fitted next week they'll find other things to p!ss against.

The week so far...

My first week at the new company has been good.

Things I have found out

-Free fruit, including prunes...
-Although limited, cheap good breakfast and lunch available,
-Molton Brown soaps in the toilets (April's Christmas present)
-I get on the same train in the morning and so far the team generally leaves at 5 (I can now get an earlier train home)
-It's actually in The City rather than on the edge of the arse end.
-The CEO of the managing agent (the guy who I had my fourth and final interview with) has just been promoted to CEO of the whole company.
-Don't stand on a swivel chair when trying to reach for a high up box (safety DVD I was forced to watch during the induction)
-As a salary sacrifice I can put up to 100% of my salary straight into my pension...

Monday, 29 September 2008

First day went well

My first day went well, got involved in one big project and looking forward to see what else I have to do for the rest of the week.

The only downside I can see so far is the fact that I currently have no phone... i'll have to have my first liaisons with IT to get it sorted out.

Sunday, 28 September 2008

Dog tired

It's a hard life being a cat in the Clark-Parker household.

Friday, 26 September 2008

Boy born to newsreader Kaplinsky

What were they expecting? An alien?

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/7636536.stm

Garrrr!

Somali pirates 'seize 30 tanks'

Bloody hell, not a bad haul. What's the going rate for a tank these days? Let alone 30 of the buggers. Did they not have car alarms, tracking devices or maybe even a steering wheel lock?

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/africa/7637257.stm

Last day

It's my last day at Gallagher's today.

Hip, hip hooray! I've made some good friends in my 21 months here, some of which i'll stay in touch with, but I shant miss the place.

It's just that there was never any real work for me to do and for those of you that know me will know that I hate being bored. If you get an e-mail from me, it means i'm bored.

2 hours left....

Thursday, 25 September 2008

Corby: Yobs

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/6215566.stm

The Northamptonshire town of Corby has been named the "yob" capital of England in a spending watchdog report.

The worst 10 towns and cities
Corby 48.8
Mansfield 44.4
Hackney 42.7
Nottingham 42.7
Luton 42.7
Slough 42.0
Ashfield (Notts) 41.2
Knowsley (Merseyside) 39.2
Middlesbrough 39.3
Easington (Durham) 38.9
Percentage of adults who think anti-social behaviour is a problem

Half a day left...

I'm off to Lloyd's for a quick bite to eat in a minute then off to The Lamb for a handful of beers. My boss has the half day off so I can more or less stay as long as I want. Plus I finish tomorrow so don't really care anyway.

I'm taking my team and a few others out for a curry tomorrow afternoon which will be good. It maybe even boozier than I expected as it coincides with an office move so the team must log out of their computers so that IT can move them by 1pm. 95% of our work uses PCs so it's basically an afternoon off.

Farts

http://www.ananova.com/news/story/sm_3021561.html?menu=

"The gas was very odorous and created contact of an insulting or provoking nature with Patrolman Parsons," the complaint says.

It's almost as bad as one of Kris' farts where he made someone physically sick!

Wednesday, 24 September 2008

Cat naming ceremony

We have finally (re) named our two lovely cats.

Brandy is now to be known as Poppet
Roxy is now to be known as Biscuit

They are nicer and more homely than the bigger one and the other one.

My brother bought us cat warming present a cat nip stuffed cotton fish. They absolutely love it. Almost too much though


Dangerous

One of my birthday presents from April was a very nice chopping knife, amazing chefs need the best tools to make the most of their skills.

The knife is excellent. Unbelievably sharp in fact. I think i've used the knife about 5 times. I have successfully cut myself with it twice!

A 40% hit ratio, maybe I should just go back to the old method...

Tuesday, 23 September 2008

Reply all... Doh!

As part of our 'package' at work we are offered half priced massages.

My mate next to me at work clicked on reply all to a message asking for an appointment. The reply has gone to the whole company, 300+ people. He's now being inundated with calls and e-mail replies taking the piss and calling him a twat.

Ha, ha!

The funny thing is he's done it before!

Bubbles is in Terminator

I watched a couple of episodes of Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles (also on Virgin On Demand) over the weekend, it's not that bad.

It's got the wierd psionic bird from Firefly and interestingly I also spotted Bubbles from The Wire, he certainly gets about a bit.

Last night's entertainment

My brother bought me two dvd's for my birthday, a Live concert of the Foo Fighters and Modern toss a Channel 4 'comedy' series.

With nothing on TV last night (there never is) I started watching Modern Toss. I lasted less than 5 minutes before switching it off. Hmm. Maybe I wasn't in the mood, maybe i'll try again with April, but in short it was terrible. Not funny in the slightest.

I ended up watching the entire first series of Peep Show with Virgin On Demand. Excellent! I'd seen a few episodes here and there but not from the beginning. I think the second series is on there too so that'll keep me entertained for another week or so.

Monday, 22 September 2008

Corby: Education

I really didn't think Corby was that bad.

According to the 2001 Census the proportion of the working age population with degree-level qualifications (8.5%) is the lowest of all areas in England and Wales. 39.3% have no GCSE-equivalent qualifications at all.

http://www.statistics.gov.uk/census2001/profiles/34ub.asp

Theft of a processed 'meat' snack

http://www.northantset.co.uk/corby/Corby-mother-burgled-as-she.4513366.jp

Give him life I hear you cry...!

The kitchen window, which Abbott cut himself on, had been forced open. Abbott also stole £450 in cash, a camera, a mobile phone, a mini Pepperami (wtf?) and fruit drinks.

What a tosser!

How did they know he stole the pepperami? Did they go through absolutely everything? I bet it was just one of her fat Corby daughters.

SC Movie Review 23

Death Sentence

An senior guy in insurance (Kevin Bacon) stops at a gas (petrol) station with his son late one night and a group of thugs end up killing him, to initiate one of their members into the gang.

Finding out that this killing was just so that he could get into a gang, in court Bacon claims that it was too dark and couldn't be sure. The thug walks free. Later that night Bacon takes his revenge. The dead gang member turns out to be the gang leader's younger brother. The gang then takes their revenge on Bacon's family. Bacon then takes his revenge on the gang.

Pretty crap story but the action sequences kept me and the cats entertained. One highlight has to be the return of John Goodman who plays the local arms dealer and also happens to be the gang leader's Dad.

IMdb Rating: 6.9 / (20171 votes) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0804461/
SC Rating: 62 /100 (1 vote)
Cats Rating: 2 meows (2 votes)

I also watched the Tenacious D film. Apart from a couple of poor bits, the film was generally good, and made me laugh out load quite a few times. Best scene: Jack Black trying to get past the laser beams protecting the Pick of Destiny. SC Rating: 78 /10 (1 vote)