Thursday, October 26, 2006


Yes, my first driving lesson in ages was last Monday. My instructor, Fiona, picked me up from a street near my house and took me to ‘a safe place to start and stop and turn a bit’. That was fun. Then when she was happy that I had been able to turn left, right and stop and start successfully enough times, we moved to an industrial estate. Once there (having stalled on a roundabout due to my inability to remember which way is left - hmm) we did some three point turns. Only they’re not called three point turns any more, they’re called turn in the road. I guess this makes more sense because on a narrow road it might take more than three points to turn fully around so that you are facing the other way. That was quite good though, and I felt like I’d done okay. I really quite enjoyed it and so I’ve booked another lesson. Stay off the roads between 7:05 and 8:35 next Wednesday to be on the safe side!

Leon is driving me (and more importantly him) to the Cambridge area this weekend to visit his family and friends. I do like several of Leon’s friends, which is good. I also like his family, they are nice people.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Two People, Three Parties

Last week I spent three evenings at parties to “celebrate” the departure of friends of mine. Thursday and Saturday were Flic’s leaving parties. Friday was JimBobJo’s.

Thursday was a pretty good night, but Orgasmic tends to turn the music up between 8 and 8:30 which usually means that you can’t talk to the people that you’re with. While this is good if you don’t know/like the people you’re with, it’s pretty annoying if you actually fancy talking to people. Unless you like conversations which go: “what?” “Sorry?” “WHAT?” “I CAN’T HEAR YOU!” “SHALL WE LEAVE?” “WHAT?” “I SAID…” gesticulating works best.

Friday was also a good night, in the Corner Pin. They don’t do good wine there, so I spent my second evening on G&T. when JimBobJo went onto shots, Leon and I left and went to Helen & James’s (a different one) for a Chinese. Yum.

Then, on Saturday Jackie and Johnny were down (staying at mine) and we all went to Flic’s flat for a gathering. More drinking was had here. Two Drinks That was a good party though, and we had lots of fun. I spent most of Sunday feeling particularly pants, though we did venture out some time after four to collect random stuff we’re taking off another soon-to-be-leaving friend, Chip.

An interesting side-effect of Jackie/Johnny’s visit to our house: the back door doesn’t open any more! The handle is dead. In fairness, though, I don’t think it was their fault (nor was it mindless vandalism, I hope) as the handle was already pretty broken. Leon thinks he might be able to fix it.
The problem is that when men approach a problem (like the broken door handle) using as much force as possible always seems to be the solution. I always found that consistent pressure worked better (and does in so many situations!)
Well, I guess that’s just another thing to add to the list of things we need to fix/replace/change/do around the house. Maybe if I’m really lucky we’ll have no doors that work soon! (1)

1. the back door, as mentioned above doesn’t open. The kitchen door requires a bit of a kick to open. The cupboard door doesn’t shut. The lounge door only has a handle on one side, and doesn’t stay shut. The bathroom door has a huge crack in it, and a hole which is plugged by a cork. The second bedroom door doesn’t have a catch, nor does the bedroom door. The cupboard in the bedroom doesn’t have a catch either. Only the front door works as it should (mostly, touch wood)

Thursday, October 19, 2006


The boss’s wife had a baby this morning. It’s a healthy baby boy weighing in at just over 7lbs. Smashing.

To clarify – I do NOT intend to have a baby of my own any time soon.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006


Yes, last night I went swimming for the first time in ages. I was very pleased with myself; I managed 24 lengths in about 20 minutes. That’s approximately 600 metres, or 0.5m/s! haha.

well anyway, it was quite pleasant really – the pool wasn’t as busy as I had expected it to be, though we went reasonably early (it was about 6:30 when we got into the pool) which meant that it wasn’t adults only which we used to go to. The only down side of this was that I had to queue for the showers, once I had done swimming, behind several small boys (all about 7-8 years old, I’d say)
Now, I do know that it is common practice for small children to be supervised in the changing rooms – otherwise they run around and cause havoc. I also know that if a small boy is accompanied only by his mother, then he pretty much has to go in the ladies changing room. This is fine, I’d rather that than them running amuck.
When I am showering after swimming I find myself always concerned about being nude in the showers. The changing rooms are very open plan. While I am not ashamed of my body, I’d really rather not be confronted with other people’s bums and boobs in the shower, it’s distracting. Also, when there are small boys in the changing room, I find myself unable to bring myself to strip – I feel uncomfortable. If I were to be naked in front of small boys in any other situation I would probably be arrested!

Other than that, I had a lovely swim, and hope to go again soon. It will certainly be good for me! hopefully Leon and I will also get the chance to go running some evenings – though it’s miserable weather and we still haven’t bought Leon some sensible jogging bottoms. Perhaps we can have a look for some when I go looking at swimming costumes (yes, a one-piece.)

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

How Things Change

I begin to wonder whether I may be taking work a little too seriously. Looking back at previous work based posts; I can see that I used to just take the Mickey a lot!

Well, I guess it’s true – partly because of my promotion, of course. Even so, I have mentioned before that I don’t live to work but instead, I Work to Live which is a much more sensible way of being. What I mean by that is that I don’t want to spend all of my time working because that is not why I live, but I will spend enough time working in order to be able to have the life that I want.

Well, we’ll see! Things may or may not improve over the next few days, weeks and months. As always, I will keep one eye on the appointments page in the Computing magazine. Everyone else is sodding off to all over the place! Mum reminded us that we wanted to live where we are now for ease of going out and visitng/being visited by friends. Three of them will not be around very soon, but the remaining ones are still living close by, pretty much. I’m not saying that in future I will not consider where the people I know well live as part of the equation. I am sure I still will, not least because if your friends all live in a given area, it is probably a reasonably nice area (especially if they’re reasonably well off.)

It does leave me to wonder, though, how many more of the people we know will be gone in the next year, three years, five years? Or more to the point, will we still be here? The longer I do work like this the longer I’m out of the industry I trained in. I honestly don’t know whether that would be something I want to do now, but I probably should have given myself the chance to find out. Maybe I should update my CV on some websites and see what work I get tracked down for? They claim here that they want me to progress; they want me to be good at things. I will “tick the boxes” – well, I don’t know what the boxes are representing since nobody seems to want to tell me, so I have no idea how I'm meant to go about ticking them! Anyway, I don’t expect that anywhere else will be any better (or worse) but who knows. I have heard that if you work for BT you don’t have to work on your birthday – in fact it’s automatically a holiday! How good is that? I guess it’s just bad timing, but that’s not an excuse for anything. My boss’s boss’s boss had a chat to me yesterday about my new role, and not being too cocky. I think that it was supposed to make me feel better, but it didn’t. I felt a bit lost before the talk, I felt very lost after.

More Exciting News, my boss is having a baby (well, his wife is) and they are planning to have a Caesarean on Thursday. Very exciting. I wish them (all three) the best and hope that it all goes smoothly.


I surfed on in today to have a look at the blogs I link to (rather than remember each one, I link to them from my blog and remember that, cunning huh?) – what has happened? My sidebar is all screwy! So, it’s now been replaced and “fixed” hopefully. I suspect that things will be missing. I’ve missed out the completed goals in my To Do as well as the “be nicer” one.

Still, could be worse…

Monday, October 16, 2006


My good friend Gemma is off to Australia soon. She called round to my parents last night to see me and say hello for one more time before she goes abroad. It’s all very exciting for her. I don’t see her as often as I should (we’ve been friends since we were six) and Austrailia is one heck of a way to travel. Sheffield I could have managed much easier. Still, if she’s still out there after we’ve paid for Florida and saved up again, then we’ll go and see her, along with Chip, who’ll be there too.


I went to see the nice man in the Orange shop. He was actually a nice man, and was very helpful. I said that I wanted to get a new phone, a new plan and free broadband. He said okay and took my mobile number. Then he said, that I couldn’t get the new plan until next month, although I could do the rest now. I said I might as well wait until next month and then do everything at once, especially since I don’t have my MAC number for transferring the broadband. So, I now have a date for my diary: 10th November. As it’s a Friday I may arrange to sod off from work early and go phone shopping. Woo.

[Edit - changed the date to the correct one, I'm a muppet!]

Friday, October 13, 2006

Sewing is fun!

I’ve got some exciting sewing to do now! Our Christmas ball is booked, so I need to sort out my design for my dress and decide whether it’s going to be red or black (the other colour will be trim) – if I had a scanner I’d scan in one of my sketches, but I don’t. I’m thinking 50s, to go with my 50s peep-toe sandals in patent red (shiny shiny) Fabulous New Shoes and also because that’s been a popular look this year (think Lily Allen and Corrine Bailey-Rae). I’m probably going to go for an on-or-just-below-the-knee length of dress, with probably two layers of netted underskirting. I may have a slip underneath that to stop it from scratching, depending on the netting. Depending on the fabric, I may also build in a sort-of corset. It wouldn’t be a corset because I have no whale bones (or substitute) but some good firm cotton under the shiny poly-cotton I’m hoping to get should be fine. I also haven’t decided whether I’ll be going for halter-neck (which prevents the issue of revealing all) or strapless (which can be iffy, especially home made) or shoestring straps, which can be nice on certain dresses. The halter-neck is a very 1950s look. The only worry then is that my hair is never going to look 50s! hahaha! But really, I don’t intend to do the whole 50s thing, just the dress is inspired by the shoes. Must get a bag too.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

I want to go somewhere else

Indeed, I have some time booked off work in November, and I’d really like to go somewhere warm. After our disaster holiday to the Canaries (okay, it’s funny now – it wasn’t then!) I think we deserve to go somewhere which will not be freezing and snowing! I also hope we can afford a last minute getaway before we go to Florida to get ourselves ready for the heat out there!
Anyway, if we can’t go somewhere warm, we’ll have to decide if we can go somewhere abroad at all, or whether we should have another UK based break. That was a lot of fun last time, we spent four days in Scarborough in a fantastic little B&B. We had fish and chips one night, and ate in a posh restaurant one night. It was brilliant (though it owed a lot to my companion!) The only bad bit of the holiday was that my ankle was strapped up, which prevented lots of walking. (That was from when I fell down the stairs at our housewarming in the old house! – two years ago!!)
Anyway, we could do something like that, although it can be more expensive to go away in the UK than it is to go abroad! Especially if you’re willing to eat in the apartment once in a while (or lots of the time, and only eat out one or two times) – especially breakfast which is vastly expensive usually, when it’s quite cheap to take some cereal and UHT milk with you (yes I do that) and also teabags (as you know, no other nation can make a cuppa like the English can)
So, I’ve been having a look on MSE to see whether the flight checker can find me anything. The best I’ve found so far is Paris for less than £10 (plus taxes) for both of us. Nice. Other good deals are to Rome and Amsterdam. We’re probably going to do a mid-week break of some sort, if I don’t find a 4* all inclusive holiday to Mexico for 7 nights for the exact time we need for £300, of course. Cancun is lovely this time of year. (that’s just a mad example, what I mean is that if I find a good deal for somewhere hot then that’s more likely to get my vote!)
I don’t like the cold, but more than that I dislike this time of year when it’s not cold enough for cold-weather clothes, but too cold for warm-weather clothes. I do not have appropriate clothes for this weather, so I’d like to go away.
Anywhere warm.
But I can’t afford many of the places which are warm at this time of year.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

So Hard...

Running is really quite hard.
It was difficult when the weather was good and I was training for the Race for Life. Now the weather is not so good and I am not training for anything.
I want to lose another stone before next August when we go away. I think that because that’s a fairly long time away, that might be part of the motivational problem. Maybe I could make it a bit more challenging – after all there are 14lbs in a stone, so in 10 months I want to lose 14 pounds. So that’s 0.7 pounds a month, or less than 0.2 pounds a week. Frankly, it’s possible to poo 0.2 pounds. So that’s not a sustainable goal. I could aim to lose the weight sooner – losing a pound a week (as I was when I first started running) I would need only 14 weeks (just over 3 months) to lose the weight. That brings us past Christmas too!
Providing it isn’t snowing, though, I don’t really have an excuse not to be out running. Okay, it’s a little cold and miserable. I have my IPod and some long jogging bottoms (which fall down because they’re too big now) so I can’t complain on that front. The issue of it being dark is a bit more of a problem. It gets dark quite early now, and so we’re soon going to be at a point where I can’t go out by myself, and where we (Leon and I) should be wearing something reflective if we’re out running. How depressing.
I have some groovy food that I am going to make, so the running thing is getting pretty important!

That time of the year again

Yes, it is that time of the year again where I have to decide what type of phone I want to upgrade to. I am in a similar situation to last time, in that I have a phone that I like now and don’t really need to ‘upgrade’ but I know that within the next three-to-six months my phone will be so far out of date I will be getting phone envy of other people. I was very envious of Leon’s new phone last January (that I got him) which was a nice shiny Sony Ericsson K750i. It was a very groovy phone, until I washed it.
So, one of the options is the most up to date version of the Sony Ericsson, the drunk w810i. It’s a nice looking phone, mostly. It’s a bit orange. It does have all of the features that I want from a phone (it can make and receive phonecalls, it can send and receive texts, it can have a doody ringtone and will [probably] work abroad) However, I am not sure. I do like the look of the e900 from Samsung drunk which is lovely. It is a Samsung, like my last two phones, so I have the benefit of being used to the Samsung operating system, and T9 predictive text. I didn’t really find it that hard to switch from my Nokia to my first Samsung though. I did consider getting a Nokia, but they’re all a bit ugly. Or they look just like the Nokia I had three years ago! Nokia did a good job of making their phones backwards compatible though, all of their newer phones had (I don’t know if it’s still true) the same connections for chargers etc. I remember it was always great that everyone I knew had a Nokia because it meant that we could borrow one another’s charger when we were visiting.
My first phone was a BTCellnet of some sort, and the one after was equally pants (an NEC – very slinky but not much cop) but my first phone, properly, was my Nokia 8210. What a stunning little phone – it had everything I needed, it was small enough to fit into all of my handbags, and even into my jeans! it could vibrate and play the ringtones together, which Samsungs appear not to be able to do, which is pants. It was virtually indestructible! It had interchangeable fascias, which meant that I could change my phone to match my outfit! I loved that phone so much. And that is really what has set the standard for me, in terms of phones. I upgraded to some other Nokia when I got my first contract phone with O2. It was as good in almost all respects, except for the size – it was about 2cm taller. This was too big for my jeans. That was when I was lured away to a Samsung – a classy little phone with the new slide action. I can’t remember the number though! Then I upgraded again to the E530, which was fantastic (even though Orange only stocked the blue one, not the pink one.) and has been great. It’s got a little chip out of it but it’s still pretty and it still works. I have some trouble with the call quality, which I gather is an issue with that phone. So anyway, I have to decide which new phone I want.
The actual aim around the whole phone situation is not actually for me getting a new phone. It’s actually for us to get free broadband at home, thus saving us £15 a month. That all depends on whether they’ll do it or not – I reckon that I should be able to get the broadband and a new phone but stay on my current contract. I might have to have an 18 month contract then though. I guess we’ll see.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Geek Chic

I love that concept. My cousin left a comment on one of the photos on
MySpace that the look I had was “Geek Chic” which is a fantastic concept! Then, when googling the phrase “Geek Chic” I discovered something beautiful. It was Fantastic! They even have a section where they interview geeks! They asked Linus Torvalds what his favourite operating system was!! (for you non-Computer-Geeks out there, Linus Torvalds is the man who invented Linux – a non Windows operating system which now comes in many varieties and the users can write for themselves!).

This got me thinking. This website is pretty restrictive in the terms of what a Geek is. So, I looked up Geek Chic on
Wikipedia. Apparently, Geek chic refers to the popularity of people who are considered to be geeks - in other words, when a Geek is considered to be cool, that’s Geek Chic. It involves wearing thick rimmed specs which are stylish rather than dorky, for example. I’ve been shouting about Geek being Chic for some time – I’ve got some pretty thick rimmed specs myself (in fact, they’re my “going out” pair, as opposed to my “work pair”!). So, we know that Geek Chic is when it’s cool to be a Geek. Think plasma TVs and super-fast computers. Shiny gadgets which mean you can open the curtains with a remote control or play the same music in any room in the house. Geek Chic is embracing your geekiness and making it cool.

So, what exactly is a Geek? Well, there is (once again in Wikipedia) a definition of
Geeks which goes some way to explaning being a Geek. If you care to read down, you will find that a sub-type of Geek is a Blogger which figures. Anyway, I guess that means that my Geek Code needs updating!

Of course, Geek Code is almost certainly not chic. Having a Blog and MySpace is more chic, but still not 100% mainstream. Wearing funky specs and the like… Geek chic.

Friday, October 06, 2006

The Way We Dress

In the news this morning was Jack Straw’s comment about Muslim women wearing a veil. (See the BBC News Story)
There has, of course, been much discussion on the topic this morning, which is excellent. The trouble I have with it is this:
”The reason we wear veils is because the Quran says to cover our selves in order to avoid attraction from the opposite sex. Men should also lower their gaze. Women who wear a veil are the women who choose to keep their respect and cover their beauty.”
Oh dear.
Cover up so that men don’t find you attractive ladies. This, to me, is an indirect agreement that girls who wear mini-skirts are “asking for it” when they do so. I have no problem with women (or men) choosing to cover themselves up – it’s a practice which has been common in many religions, not just Islam.
[1 Corin. 11:5]
But any woman who prays and prophecies with her head unveiled dishonors her head - it is the same as if her head were shaven, for if a woman will not veil herself then she should cut off her hair. But if it is disgraceful for a woman to be shorn or shaven, let her wear a veil.
That’s what the Bible has to say about women.
It is also true that is used to be considered rude to be seen in public without a hat of some sort, covering the crown of a woman’s head.

I have quite mixed feelings about this. Of course women should be able to wear whatever they like, be it to cover themselves head-to-toe or to wear a bikini in February – that’s the choice of the woman. However, if she feels that she must cover up to stop men from finding her attractive then I don’t think I can agree.
Especially as men are excluded from the extremes of this, only needing to cover their “private parts”.
I can’t help but think that women are required to cover up so that men don’t find them attractive (as it is always the woman’s fault if a man fancies her, not his!) and that only a man could have made up that rule. Men don’t have to cover up so that us women don’t find them attractive (and in some cases it would be preferable!)
My other thought on this is that many young women will only be dressing like this because everyone else does and while I wouldn’t condone them wearing bikinis in February, I don’t like the crowd following which so many young people do.
I don’t think that this is an issue of faith, perhaps just one of understanding. Providing that the women wearing the veil understand why they are doing so, and agree with the reasons, then that is their choice.

Selling Out

I’ve been watching Extras. I'm not a big fan of Ricky Gervais, but I have quite enjoyed almost all of the bits that he’s not in.
This morning, however, I have realised something quite sad. Like Andy in Extras, I’ve sold out. I don’t believe in the integrity of the code I’m writing any more – in fact I know that most of it is nasty hacky code. I used to really enjoy making my code as efficient as possible. We’d compete to see who could make their program work and be legible in the shortest amount of lines (often with a lot of comments!)
It’s a sad thought that the efficiency of the code is almost never thought of. Everything is slapped in as a nasty hack. In a way it makes me glad that I am slowly moving towards management – at least that way someone else has the soul destroying task of putting nasty hacks into the code, I never need to know.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

To Upgrade or not To Upgrade

I am faced with the chance to upgrade to Blogger Beta. There are probably some good things about this, and almost certainly some bad. I don’t know. One of the things which is an interesting side-effect of the new Blogger is that I will have to have a Google account. This would not be that bad – though I would still have to keep checking my Hotmail account as I have lots of important email that goes there and I bet it would take ages to fix that. So I might get no benefit to having my own Google account.
Of course, there is also the point that any of you non-beta users can no longer comment – though I don’t get many comments anyway, so that’s probably no issue.

I am also harbouring a desire to upgrade my PC to one which works. Leon is quite keen to have an Apple of some sort – especially as work have cut a deal to get us money off at Apple. I’m not sure – I’d quite like to get a nice shiny laptop and go wireless with our broadband. In an ideal world I would buy us each a laptop and then I wouldn’t get Leon’s email on my google homepage. Ho hum. This said, we’ll probably wait until after the Xmas madness and get our laptop/pc/Apple(s) at much reduced expense. Maybe. It also depends on how the savings go (which reminds me…)

Woo Hoo!

Yes indeed, yesterday we had cause for celebration! Leon has passed his driving test! He was very very happy about it and even picked me up from work last night. We promptly had problems with the one-way system, but he’s driving with even more confidence now that they’ve told him that he officially can! I’m really proud of him, especially that he didn’t give up (as I did). He still hasn’t stopped smiling, and has taken a big heap of cakes in to work as a celebration.

Anyway, this is my WELL DONE post for Leon.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

School's Out

Last Thursday was the School Disco in aid of the Romanian House Building Project. I dressed myself up in my school uniform(1) and took Leon with me for a bit of a boogie. The band on was the Cosmic Spiders who were pretty good, although they played Robbie Williams songs, which I wasn't so sure about. When they started playing Love Shack we had to leave - I can't stand that song!
Anyway, it was a good laugh and was for a good cause. And that's a terrible picture!! So, that was good fun. The band did play some classics, including a bit of T-Rex. I was hoping for some Suzi Quattro too, but no.

(1)Okay, not my actual school uniform, there's no way I'd fit into that these days, and also I threw it away. I did wear my school tie, a white shirt and a short denim skirt...