Thursday, 31 December 2009

Another year is coming to a close

And i'm getting the half day off for free! Yippee!

Ta, ta for now.

Now all I need to do is get to Ross' house then drink an enormous amount of beer.

Wednesday, 30 December 2009

No booze in January attempt 3

If you discount a me going to a wedding, a company dinner, going to see Billy Connolly, a couple of meals with friends and a friend's birthday I am once again going to attempt not drinking in January...

Guess what you're all getting for Christmas next year

http://blog2print.sharedbook.com/blogworld/printmyblog/index.html

All my 2010 blog entries in a handy hard bound book for easy reference.

Scratch that. If I write the same amount of drivel as I did in 2009 then it would cost $85.85 each for the hard bound option!

Car mileage

We've had our 'new' car for almost a year now and we've only done 6,000 miles. I'm glad we don't have to drive to work each day as that would seriously add to the wear and tear on the thing and would add a lot to the servicing.

Majestic

At the weekend I tried to stock up at wine at our nearest Majestic but it was shut so on my day off yesterday I drove over to take a look. I eventually came out with a mixed selection wine. 6 white, 4 red, 2 Cava and 3 crates of beer. Two of my current favourite St Peters and 1 grate of Tiger. So much in fact that it wouldn't all fit in my boot. Luckily I went without April so I used the passenger seat and the footwell.

With any luck, it'll be a while before I have to restock...

Christmas present list

In no particular order here's what I got for Christmas

Obligatory Socks and pants
Cat Mug
Homer Simpson apron / oven glove
Homer Simpson cushioned tray
Selection Box
Cava
Potato ricer
Fancy pepper grinder
Electronic money counter (didn’t work)
Armando Iannucci DVD
Oz Clark wine book
Ben Goldacre Bad Science book
Box of Biscuits
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2

Not a bad haul really.

Back into work and it's so quiet

Even though i'm only in for a day and possibly a half this week I can already tell it's going to seriously drag. I'm out for lunch with one of my old flatmates so that should help speed things up but I can't see it being a long one.

Yawn.

Friday, 25 December 2009

Great spot

Just started to watch a new episode of the West Wing and spotted someone I recognised.

David Graf: Officer Tackleberry of Police Academy fame

Goofy bastard and other Christmas friends

Drinks at the Knight's Lodge

A perfect Christmas

National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation. If you don't have a copy, let me know and i'll make sure to get you one as a present next year. Best film ever!

Wednesday, 23 December 2009

Cancelled trains yet again!

Oh well, I guess i'll just have to stay at home again.

Trains have either been suspended until further notice or outright canceled. The weather's no worse that yesterday and certainly not as bad as Friday so can't really see the problem.

Bloody trains.

Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Why you should read...

A guy was reading a Dad Brown book this morning on the way into work, I had a quick look at some of the blurb on the back and it read

"Why you should read a Dan Brown novel"

Jeez! You really shouldn't have to convince someone to read your books.

They'd be better off saying "They're not as bad as everyone says"

I hope it's not contagious

April’s just had her new i-phone delivered. I may have to install i-tunes on my laptop so that we can finally consolidate all our music. It makes me shudder just thinking about it.

Good news is that i'll probably have control over the TV tonight.

Monday, 21 December 2009

A night of comedy, science and music

I went to see Nine Lessons and Carols for Godless People at the Hammersmith Apollo last night.

I went last year and it was just as good. If anthing a little slicker, but saying that we still got our money's worth with nearly 4 hours of music, science and comedy.

Highlights were Dara O'Briain and Al Murray the pub landlord. Both of which I intend to go and see next year.

It was being filmed last night so it may be on over Christmas (it was on BBC news this morning). If anyone wants to borrow last year's dvd I bought it for £10.

See last years entry
http://watdefu.blogspot.com/2008/12/nine-lessons-carols-for-godless-people.html

Bored over the Christmas break?

Why not write a comedy sketch?

http://www.chortle.co.uk/news/2009/12/21/10231/bbc_radio_seeks_new_comedy_writers?rss

Should I finish making my tea?

I was just making a cup of tea in our breakout area when I heard a loud thud behind me. A female colleague had collapsed and fell off her chair during a meeting.

There were enough people around her and checking she was okay so I headed over to HR to get them to get an ambulance. I think she’s conscious now but they’re still going to take her in as a precaution.

The predicament I have is should I go back and finish making me tea...???

I hope she's alright.

Insurers’ bonuses escape tax

Insurance Times, 21 December
HM Revenue & Customs has changed it definitions of banks to stop the one-off 50% supertax on bonuses hitting insurers, the Guardian reports. "We have received representations that the definition of a bank inadvertently catches companies which would not be regarded as a bank from a commercial or legal perspective," HMRC said. "Having considered these, we think that the diversity of regulated investment activities undertaken by non-banking financial service groups in the UK means that the original definition of a 'bank' did not effectively exclude all the groups we intended to exclude. This resulted in a number of corporate groups inadvertently being brought within the definition of a 'banking group', and therefore within the scope of the bank payroll tax."

That's a relief, now to put the rest of my plan into action. Get a £25,000 bonus...

Saturday, 19 December 2009

Nokia syncing problems

I've replaced the old Nokia PC Suite with their new Ovi suite. The bloody thing won't sync properly with my phone so have to copy photos across manually. Bloody thing!

"You wouldn't have this problem with an apple"

Blah, blah, blah...

A little bit of snow

and a free day off for me, result! Well I did do a little bit of work from home, I read some Ceiops consultation papers.

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

We're off to see this again on Sunday

http://newhumanist.org.uk/

http://blog.newhumanist.org.uk/2009/11/mark-steel-added-to-nine-lessons-bill.html

Should be fun.

Internet radio

I've been starting to use the internet radio on my phone during my commute each day and it's quite entertaining. I've been mainly listening to a couple of American comedy channels (no UK comedy channel) and although they can be quite hit and miss some of the comedians do make me chuckle.

They basically take 5 minute sketches out of stand up comedians live acts, it's quite varied, i've heard acts like Bill Hicks and Doug Stanhope but also heard Bill Cosby and Robin Williams. All good fun.

Although it's not so great on the train (i've got at least 5 long tunnels on my route), I still like it.

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Fantastic

I've just ripped a hole in my trousers. It's not massive and is quite near a seam but still very annoying.

I was walking to the break out area someone was walking past me so I stepped to the side to let them pass. When the they passed I caught the edge of my trousers on an old pin board behind a cupboard which had a nail sticking out.

Doh! Hopefully April can use her amazing stitching skills to fix them. I've got a spare pair of trousers and another suit but it's still annoying.

Monday, 14 December 2009

Ha, ha, modern art is rubbish

Just watched the tail end of School of Saatchi (it's on just before QI). They were deciding on who had the best pieces of art in an x-factor style knock out.

On telling the girl who won that she'd won.

"Oh fuck..."

Ha, ha.

What did she win it with? Log on a fence.

What a load of bollocks!

I can't win

The cats have been waking us up at night with their stupid noisey antics. But it turns out that that's not why April was a little grumpy this morning. It was actually because of something I may have done to her in a dream...

"Sorry if I was grumpy this morning, you’d probably just done something to annoy me in my dream"

Mmm, Sunday lunch in style

http://www.thewesthouserestaurant.co.uk/index.html

There's a handful of Michelin starred restaurants in Kent, and I want to try them all whilst I’m here. The closest is in Biddenden which is about a 30 minute drive from Tonbridge so decided to treat April to a Sunday lunch at the West House.

It was a bit quiet when we walked in, we were the youngest couple in there by a good 20 years but we were also the least posh.

April had some sort of quail egg froth with bacon and syrup to start, I had pigeon with some sort of crème potato. In between our starter and mains we were given an espresso cup filled with pumpkin and truffle oil soup.

After some miss-communication between April and myself we both ordered the beef for main. This was very good, but it came with a side of more beef (stewed beef knuckle with rye) in a tiny cast iron pan. All that red meat made me pretty stuffed so we didn’t go for the three courses.

All in all a very good meal, an £80 extravagance for Sunday lunch but very nice as a treat.

Thursday, 10 December 2009

The cure for all which ails you

I've had a bit of a cold for the last 3 days now and can't seem to shift it, even though i've been lemsipping to the max.

I'm out for a curry with some old colleagues tonight, hopefully that'll cure it. If i'm honest though, i'd rather stay in and try and recuperate the recommended way.

I think i'm getting old.

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Darling to unveil bank bonus tax

Alistair Darling may unveil a 50% tax on bank bonuses above about £10,000 in the pre-Budget report, the BBC understands.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/8402769.stm

This strikes me as targeting the wrong people. From next year people earning over £150,000 will be paying 50% anyway so you're really only hitting relatively junior people in the banking sector who had very little to do with the situation we find ourselves in at the moment. If he really wanted to punish the bankers who recklessly invested their bank's money then they should look at the top earners on say £1m+, even then as a real money making exercise it would be a waste of time or even counter productive.

This is simply a publicity stunt designed to attract uninformed voters.

Thank god I work in insurance and not a bank. I pay far too much tax as it is.

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

The West Wing

We finished watching the first series of the West Wing last night. It ended so well we HAD to watch the first of series two. That was a two parter but we couldn't justify watching another as we'd already watched four and it was passed 11pm.

Maybe a few more tonight...

No fair... I'm coming down with a cold

I felt it coming on last night so had a pre-emptive lemsip last night. It was not better this morning and it's getting worse now. Boo hoo!

Time for more lemsip.

Monday, 7 December 2009

I passed the exam

I get the official results within a week but seeing as it was an online test they gave me the preliminary results there and then.

1) Main features of risk and insurance: 88.9%
2) Main features of the insurance market: 95.8%
3) Main principles of insurance contracts: 77.5%
4) Main legal principles of transacting insurance: 75%
5) Main methods of dealing with complaints: 100%

A straight average would give me 87.4% but there are more marks attributed to different sections so it may be higher or lower than that.

£500 bonus, not bad for a few hours work. Bring on the next one.

Friday, 4 December 2009

Just seen a fox in the back garden

I don't think it's old limpy. He wasn't as mangy and didn't have a limp.

Both cats are in so he can't get them.

Christmas Tree

On my lunch break I popped into B&Q for a tree. Big problem being the car we have.

Sorry about the picture quality on the first one, not sure what went on there, something to do with the light I think...

Thursday, 3 December 2009

Biscuit and Poppet relaxing




Poppet's looking a little pissed off, but Biscuit's having fun helping me with Football Manager and npt having any arms...

Exam on Monday

I've got my frist insurance exam on Monday afternoon.

I've read 7 out of the 10 chapters and have just done the online passed exams. I got a grade 9 out of a maximum of 10! 88%

I've also got Friday and Monday morning off as study leave so plenty of spare time to top up my reading too.

You're allowed 2 hours for the exam, I took 25 minutes.

5 days study leave and £500 for passing each one. He, he! Not bad really.

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Why didn't he just beat them up?

http://www.northantset.co.uk/corby/Boy-attacked.5870920.jp

One was 5ft3, the other 5ft6.

Wicksteed Park twinned with Disney World???

http://www.northantset.co.uk/news/Kettering-on-the-shortlist-to.5873328.jp



I wonder if the judges have ever been to Kettering?

Smiths of Smithfield

We're off here for our team Christmas lunch.

http://www.smithsofsmithfield.co.uk/sos/index.html

I've been there about 5 or 6 times before but never to the 3rd floor. Should be good.

Head hunted again?

This time I think the guy got the wrong Stuart. When I was out for lunch I received this voicemail message “Hi Stuart, my name’s Paul and I’m calling from Capital Systems regarding the new quantum mechanics breakthrough and the stats for the ‘hydron collider escaper’… can you call me back on …

I initially thought it was from an ex colleague who's name was Paul and also had a novelty northern accent. He's now relatively senior in a large insurer so thought he was messing about to try and get passed our receptionist. He’s asked me if I want to join his company before so it was certainly on the cards.

I checked with a friend to see if the mobile supplied was the same as his own mobile, it wasn’t but could quite easily have been his work mobile.

In the end I called

It turns out it was a head hunter but not for me. They wanted experience in Oracle Fusion.

Idiot!

SSS

Mmm. Swiss Salami special from Basil's.

I haven't had one for years, usually Markus would pick them up in the morning after a heavy session the night before.

Saying that I think I might ask for less mustard mayonnaise next time.