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