25 December, 2007
23 December, 2007
Wow, check out the birthday card my folks got for me! A frighteningly accurate caricature, hand drawn by Duncan Scott (cartoonist for the Beano)...!
Thanks everyone for the lovely gifts! The rest of the day will be filled with going for lunch somewhere nice, watching the Golden Compass and playing Mass Effect on my 360!
21 December, 2007
...after a lovely lunch (coincidentally having being given 120 bits of free extra chewing gum on our way) we have all been released!
So I'm all done (work-wise) for the year!!
See you later London! ;)
Well, never seen a commute like it, there were *empty* *seats* on the Jubilee line... <:0
Got into the office at 08:45 to find it absolutely full of slightly malodorous colleagues who never actually managed to make it home from the office Christmas party(!) some of whom have managed something like one hours sleep under their desks (from the sounds of things)...I missed it as I was at Flyingpops' work having drinks by prior arrangement (but nothing like as colossal a "good time" as this lot seem to have had from the sounds/look/smell of things)...
If I had been left in any kind of doubt as to the nature of the event, it was immediately dismissed when I discovered this discarded wrapper for a "Novelty G String (with animal sound)" laying by my keyboard...
I'm almost relieved I missed it (although the photo oportunities would, no doubt, have been plentiful)! ;)
20 December, 2007
Nearly there, only one more day at work (after today) and the Christmas break can start! Woo Hoo! As if in sympathetic symbiosis, the sun is really having trouble cutting through the cloud/fog today...it's lending the whole place the aspect of a futuristic city on Mars... ;)
Pleasingly another freebie today (seems like it's been ages!) some free actimel this morning at London Bridge (could have grabbed a few, but wasn't sure if I was going to like it), drank it when I got to my desk and it isn't actually too bad, it tastes a bit like a watered down fruit yoghurt...not sure I'll be leaping out to the shops to buy a load for the fridge though... ;)
19 December, 2007
I dunno what it is but everything seems to be on a go-slow at the moment, might be everyone getting mentally prepared for the festivities (for example, a few of the papers yesterday ran a story claiming that 1 in every 26 people in the UK pulled a sickie on Monday), but two of my buses and two trains in the last two days have run seriously late, and it's very cold waiting for them, and I can only find one of my gloves but for some reason I don't feel stressed about it at all...
In fact, despite these little blips, every day I wake up feeling like it's Friday and it doesn't seem to matter that it isn't (when I come to my senses)...and I'm carrying that feeling of quiet excitement that greets me first thing in the morning with me through the whole day...
Could it be that I have found some "Christmas spirit"?
In other news, my R4 arrived yesterday (woo hoo!!), just need to get my NDS back from my mum now... ;)
18 December, 2007
There, just a quick shot of the ice rink in action, it's quite funny because often during the day a coachload of local school kids will turn up, all confident thanks to having grown up on Heelys, and proceed to waddle awkwardly and slowly around the rink (holding onto each other for support) frequently ending up on their arses...hehe... ;)
17 December, 2007
Oh and then suddenly all is well with the world, when everyone in the department got handed a lovely box just like the above...! Second present of Christmas and very nice indeed... ;)
Feeling rather contented again now..."tube journey from hell" - DELETED ;)
- nipping around Tesco buying tasty goodies (including masses of naughty cheese), we even managed a bit of "Santa Claus - The Movie" on Sunday night then today, still feeling reasonably contented as we got the the station, firstly the train is delayed, only by a few minutes, when it arrives it's only four coaches (but Flyingpops and I manage to find seats next to each other), so still okay, get down into the tube at London Bridge and the Jubilee line is completely closed! No way to even get into the station...After only a moment's hesitation I decided to try and find the secret entrance that I had once accidentally come out from (much to my confusion) in Borough High Street, as it couldn't possibly be any worse...found it after only about a five minute walk and it was both open and empty, result! So got down to the platform and it didn't look *too* bad down there (thanks to all the main entrances being closed), but still had to wait and watch four tube trains go past before I finally managed to ram myself into a space slightly too small for me between other frustrated commuters...get to Canada Water and (unusually) there are even loads of people waiting here, so many cram on (to many complaints from the already crushed inhabitants) that just after we leave the station the train grinds to a complete halt, the driver comes on the PA system emploring everyone to please move away from the doors (as the trains safety system shuts the engine off if it appears that anyone is trying to force the doors open, and that includes anyone leaning against them), in the end he threatens to walk down the train to "Carriage 2" (although he offers absolutely no help in identifying which coach "Carriage 2" is, front or back?) to forcibly remove whoever is pushing against the door sensors, and by some miracle the offending person/s finally manage to understand and shift themselves...usual tube journey time is about 9 minutes, today it took 40...
Roll on the Christmas break...
15 December, 2007
14 December, 2007
Brought the good camera into town the other day, took these when we went out for our office Christmas lunch...rather a step up from last year...heh...even though we only went to one of the local pubs (a 'spoon, but not a run of the mill one, obviously, considering the location), situated in the amazing (listed) "Ledger Building"...
...even the toilet was spectacular ;) -
13 December, 2007
Got the results of the MRI today, bit of bad news (but not too bad) looks like I have worn out some of the cartilage under the knee cap and on the right hand side below the calf on my right knee, this explains the bi-yearly problems with mobility...
Anyway, a consultant rheumatologist now must be consulted and then we shall see if nasty holes must be sliced into me to fix the issue...bah...
12 December, 2007
Time for another "good deed", a comment appeared on this flickr picture yesterday from a chap caled "Tony Heriyanto" who is desperate to find an old friend of his called "Gavin Brooks" who used to live at 17 Balfe Street in Kings Cross (just down the road where where I used to work) but says that everything he tries to post to that address just gets returned to him...
He provided all his contact details (a little innocently, however that gave me some satisfaction that this isn't a scam or anything illegal), so yesterday I asked Renemy (who is still in the area) to print out the details and post them directly through the door (which she did), however, it's rather likely that Mr Brooks has moved house (hence the returned mail), therefore, Gavin Brooks of Balfe Street, if you read this (through vanity searching your own details on the magic interweb), click the picture and drop Mr Heriyanto a line!
Wouldn't be the first time the internet managed to facilitate something good and nice...Although I must also remember to suggest that Tony checks facebook... ;)
11 December, 2007
So, the weekend before last (while we were in Dorking) we popped into Wickes to buy a new smoke alarm, the reason for this being a slightly scary "incident" involving me and some rather burnt supper, and the fact that our existing smoke alarm didn't make single solitary noise during the entire affair...(far from ideal)...
We got it back, put in it's battery, tested it and then hung it on the wall and forgot about it until later on that day when I began to start hearing (almost unconsciously) a little "beep" (just very intermittently)...I put it down to the unit just acclimatising itself, but it was still doing it (with increasing regularity) on Wednesday, and by this stage I must admit it had started to get rather annoying..."busy life (tm)" meant that we constantly forgot to go and buy a new battery for it (as the one that came with it *could* have been duff)..so by Saturday it honestly was lucky it hadn't ended up being thrown into the pond out the back of the house (only the thought that a beeping smoke alarm is better than no smoke alarm saving it's little plastic skin)...
Sunday came and we finally remembered to buy a fresh 9v cell...Flyingpops stood up on a chair, retrieved the alarm and popped old battery out and stepped down to pick up the new one when the beeping sound promptly stopped us both in our tracks...It can't have done that with no power, could it? Anyway, putting it down (partially) to imagination, she put the new one in, hung it back on the wall and we got on with what we were doing (with a shrug)...but meer minutes later the sound happened again...! This, after a moment's pause, sent us running upstairs (feeling foolish) to stand by the other alarm (that must have been it all along!)...we waited...and were finally rewarded, but with a much quieter noise...so it wasn't the alarm upstairs either!! WTF?
The next half an hour was then spent moving slowly around the house, standing very still and listening intently...then moving in, like a submarine captain stalking his prey, I ended up (after a number of false positives) with my head stuck in the understairs cupboard, removing layers of old curtains and car boot sale items and *finally* found the culprit...a very old smoke alarm that had been left by the previous owner that had (*unbelievably*) decided to run low on juice the *very* *day* that we install a new one in the living room...
What on earth are the chances of something like that happening?
10 December, 2007
- with everyone else in Surrey (it seems, had to drive twice around the car park before we got a spot!) -
- to choose our tree -
- didn't get quite such a huge one this year though (trying to economise where possible) still managed to spend £30 though...
Cleveryly (learned our lesson from last year) we picked one without a huge great trunk, so we only needed to saw a tiny sliver from the end to get it to fit in the base...not quite sure when we are actually going to get round to decorating *inside* the house, but the outside is certainly looking festive now... ;)
07 December, 2007
Originally uploaded by StartedByAMouse.
Read in the Metro this morning that Woolworths have won a £5 million advertising deal to promote the launch of the new Simpsons DVD, not quite on the same scale as the incredbile job done in the US to promote the movie where a number of 7 Eleven stores were converted into Kwik-E-Mart stores (complete with themed goods to buy)...still should be pretty cool though, 200 stores are involved, so maybe one near me, surely either Crawley or Redhill will make the list... ;)
06 December, 2007
Bit odd, this was parked up in the pedestrian area between the tube station and Carluccio's this morning and was accompanied by absolutely no form of explanation or promotion whatsoever...Still, nice to see one in the "flesh" I suppose and someone must have paid some cash for the pleasure of arranging it to be there for me to photograph, so thanks whoever you are, I promise I *would* have picked up your leaflet if anyone had been giving them out... ;)
Lunch today, I didn't have a packed one (have been really good at doing that the last few days, so a bit of a slip-up), mostly because I had to get the bus to the railway station this morning and thus didn't have time to put it all together, but also partially through having lacked motivation last night after having to wait for the beef joint to cook (it had got a little late by that stage)...
Anyway, as a result I had a bit of a treat today, found an absolutely amazing restaurant (and it may be one that Tommo might *just* be interested in)...more later... ;)
I ate so much chewing gum during the day on Monday that when I got home and tried to eat my dinner (yummy roast left-overs) my mouth was too tired to work properly...this is wrong! As a result, I've had to hide the container in my desk drawer to stop my hands doing that Homer Simpson "Ooooo!" thing whenever I loose concentration...
This is particularly odd as I really don't have much of a sweet tooth...
05 December, 2007
Wow, looks like Flickr have fully integrated the photo editing service Picknik into the main interface! This means online cropping, red-eye fixing etc. right from the new "edit photo" button...very handy for "field" posting where no local photo editing software is available...(hotels/cybercafes/libraries and such like)...
Super cool...! ;)
Every morning the Jubilee Line and the DLR chew up and then disgorge well in excess of 100,000 commuters (in the space of about an hour) onto the 14.1 million square feet of office that loom over the 97-odd acres of flood plain collectively known as "Canary Wharf"...(called this because historically this area was predominantly used as a dock for imports from the Canary Islands)...I could stop there, having already gifted you at least four interesting facts about this part of London with which to impress your friends and family, however, this statistical information has been presented to you to highlight a real potential logistical problem...and one that the London Underground addresses by name...
Each morning, an announcement is on loop at Canary Wharf station "Please do not discard your Metro Newspapers anywhere on the station or escalators, please carry them with you and use the bins provided", you don't get that at any other underground station I have visited (and it's worse if any freebies or leaflets are being given away, they especially are fair game for escalator dumping), but if you consider *most* commuters *will* pick up a Metro (or buy another morning paper), this is a colossal amount of paper waste ending up potentially dumped at the doorstep of Canary Wharf estate management -every day- and you know what? Apart from in the back of the dedicated (electrically powered) recycling carts -
- or the recycling bins -
- there isn't a stray copy of Metro anywhere in sight...so someone has actually got something rather perfectly right...It's easy to always complain about things that go wrong, but in this case some congratulations are in order, so jolly well done to Canary Wharf... ;)
04 December, 2007
A combination of extreme heights, freezing cold, high winds (*and* rain) plus cold water and dirty windows *have* to combine to make a rather good candidate for one of the worst jobs to have around here...
Certainly a lot worse than cleaning people's shoes... ;)
03 December, 2007
Go and grab WinRAR (if you don't already have it) then get this file (150kernel_addon2.rar) and this file and then just follow the instructions in the readme.txt file and all will be well with the world again...you'll have to power your PSP down completely after the installation before it starts to work again by the way...my train journey shot by playing Mario Kart 64 this morning...(and yes, I do own the original... ;)
Roll on R14... ;)
30 November, 2007
Heh, spotted this on the weekend (sorry about the picture, it was shot from the window of the car) scrawled on the front and side of a tour bus (on the back was an enormous "NZ" in white paint)...so some very lost Kiwis were obviously doing *something* at Redhill Aerodrome... ;)
29 November, 2007
So had to face the music today and go and visit "Docklands Healthcare" (it's very handily only five minutes from where I work, you gotta love Canary Wharf!) to have my very naughty knee scanned in their lovely new "Siemens 1.5 Tesla", managed to forget that there is an east entrance from the Jubilee line, so took a very pleasant (and rather suprising) walk through Jubliee Park -
- where I was slightly delayed, as it seems all sorts of detached frog eye installations have been arranged in various amusing places (did a double take when I spotted the first pair peering out from inside a bush) -
- most of them also appear to be illuminated, so I imagine the very best effect is to be seen during the hours of darkness (when it would seem that giant slimy creatures were lurking in the shadows all around the place)...very amusing stuff! Will have to go back one evening with a tripod... ;)
Anyway, a very short walk later I found myself at the entrance to Docklands Healthcare, had to fill out a couple of forms (nothing too stressful) you just have to confirm in no uncertain terms that no-where on (or in) your body is anything remotely foreign and metallic (as the huge magnet would have absolutely no difficulty in ripping any such object straight out of your body, so remove any piercings before going, eh?)...
The MRI Scanner itself resembles an old IBM mainframe with a *HUGE* tube of Polo mints stuck on the side, you place yourself on a remotely operated table (after stripping down to a surgical gown in a little changing room), and the appropriate area of your body is then wedged in place (to stop it moving) by plenty of chunks of tempurfoam...some headphones are placed on your head (big, old fashioned cans, but fed sound through thick hollow plastic tubes (no metal remember), so everything sounds rather muted and distant)...you are then asked if you are comfortable, offered your choice from a list of music (they had all sorts from Classical, through NOW Albums all the way to a selection of classic Arabic hits)...I chose a bit of classic Coldplay...sat back as the slightly underwater sounding warbling began and was then told by the (nice antipodean or possibly South African) radiologist to "Stay as still you can, relax or we will have to repeat each scan"...and then the racket began, I tensed up *immediately*, just couldn't help it - it sounds like someone is attacking the tube with a hammer (very quickly) - in the end I was stuck in that increasingly uncomfortable position for over an hour - "Ok, there was a bit of movement there, did you feel it?", (nodding, Yes, I'm sorry), "Okay, we'll have to go again, just another 4 mintues, try to relax and *don't* move"...*Groan*...
Suffice it to say, doing this is very, *very* difficult and doesn't get any easier as time marches on...
Anyway, it's all over now, I walked away with 2 CDs full of interesting shots like this one -
- that show slices of me as if I had been shredded on a giant mandoline...quite amazing!
Next step my consultant, as all that the pictures (although I glanced only briefly) seem to do for me is make me think of Sunday Roast...(which I am fully aware is, at the very *least*, a *little* strange, and potentially a very, *very* wrong reaction indeed)... ;) Just glad they weren't in colour...
Don't worry though, I'm not hungry...right now... ;)
28 November, 2007
Bit of a suprise this morning upon reaching the top of the escalator at Canary Wharf, a "Del Boy" look-a-like (Maurice Canham I think, but there are quite a number of them around) was posing for photographs!
He came complete with a market stall set up by the opposite wall (and several people with video cameras), all in aid of advertising (not quite sure about the link here) wireless headsets for office telephones...hmmm... ;)
27 November, 2007
As we were pulling into London Bridge this morning I peered over to the right to see if I could catch a glipse of "The Wharf" in the distance but the fog was so bad it was nowhere to be seen, and in fact, upon getting here, the top few floors were looking a little hazy...still, at least it's not too cold and it's not raining, it could be worse... ;)
Anyway, my site traffic tool (Sitemeter) seems to have given up the ghost, it died at Thanksgiving (too much Turkey and Cornbread I suspect), I haven't given up on it completely (still left the tag there just in case it springs back to life as I have a lot of historical data on there), but just on the off-chance, and also because I like my daily browse of who is visiting and how they ended up here I have also now installed Google Analytics (two heads are better than one)...and I have to say I am extremely impressed! In fact there's only two bad things I can say about it - it's private (so I have to log on to browse reports, and no-one else will be able to see them) and secondly, it's going to take some mucking around to get my head around the new interface, but it's hardly rocket science, won't take long to get used to...
So if you are in the same boat as me, or just fancy a change (it's completely free), give it a try!
26 November, 2007
So over the weekend we paid a visit to County Mall in Crawley to do our Christmas shopping, and it was fairly successful too, it *could* have been a disaster, as it was the grand "Switching on of the lights" ceremony, causing us to exchange slightly concerned looks upon spotting the sign announcing the event, as the whole idea was to *avoid* crowds of rabid shoppers...
...anyway, as it turned out it was a fairly low key affair, all kicking off with a half audible rendition of some Spice Girls numbers by some young singers, unhindered by any pretence of talent and overflowing with enthusiasm, it's just a shame the PA wasn't working very well...they were followed by some rather better Christmas carol singers (who had sensibly waited until all the problems with the sound system had been ironed out) -
- and then Santa's Grotto opened and the crowd swarmed away from the music...
Anyway, we took advantage of everyone standing around looking and listening to zoom around the largely empty stores (and I know I deserve to be dodging bullets for saying this, as many people won't be in a similar position so early in the run-up) but it's such a pleasure to shop at this time of year, when all the shelves are full (so plenty of choice) and all the goods haven't been picked up and squashed and shaken and poked (over and over again) until the boxes are tatty...
...it wasn't all plain sailing though, the "3 for 2" in Boots proved a little difficult to actually turn into a bargain (and in the end involved a bit of over-spending and 2 visits to the checkout to maximise value), a faff, but no *real* problem when the stores are devoid of shoppers...we wandered the rest of Crawley, and actually managed to get pretty much every gift we need (only 2 or 3 remaining now)...one could almost relax! ;)