Sunday, July 29, 2007

Fast Cars

Today Phil and I went to Oulton Park in Cheshire to learn how to drive fast cars round a race circuit for his 21st birthday present (note to self - should really complete posts started in May, one of which being Phil's 21st birthday). We got lost due to amazing lack of signposting and only the man mowing the lawn outside the Foz & Barrel pub nearby saved us from being very late. We then didn't know where to go to register as we hadn't received a confirmation letter through the post but found it just in time.

Next it was onto the briefing session where we were briefed on what to do etc. Once the formalities were over with we were taken to drive a Renault Clio Sport 197. Phil started ahead of me and gradually pulled away as I kept missing apexes and being generally not as quick, even having to let two other cars past on my five laps. My instructor decided to single me out as a danger for not slowing down enough for the corners. I got round them all so didn't really see a problem especially as he gave me 81/100 in his marking of my performance (6 less than Phil). After Googling my instructor it seems he shares the name of former F1 driver Ian Ashley. It would be a huge coincidence if it wasn't him so I feel quite privileged now.

It was then onto Formula Brands single seaters (like F1 cars but slower and more unforgiving. I was first out of the pits which I didn't like as I knew I was slow and always like to be following rather than leading. I let two faster cars past at the end of my first lap but for the remaining five laps was keeping good pace and probably faster than another couple in front of me so at least I wasn't totally crap. They were limited to about 80 mph to avoid accidents but sat on the floor it still feels bloody fast. We then had a debrief and that was it - £180 well spent and over in less than two hours. A fun day.

I feel like having more fun this week but it's not easy to have fun being me so we'll have to see what comes of it. I got my second replacement phone on Thursday and it still works which is good. I haven't got many numbers in it yet due to my sim card holding 10 numbers, 9 of which are O2 numbers but they are all in my old phone ready to be brought across at some stage (except Mr freaky text from last week).

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Candid But No Camera

I'm not really sure if the title makes sense but I think it gets the point across. Read on anyways...

Yesterday was an almighty strange day (up until about 3 o'clock after which it was normal) so here's why.

I woke up to the sound of my brother's alarm as he didn't turn it off. Then it went off again without going off. He'd been out bowling the night before so I didn't see him get in. "Shit, is he dead?" (I should talk to myself less). Well, my answer was maybe as he didn't get home or let me know where he was. Turned out he'd been out bowling in Bradford, then gone drinking in Halifax (not a very normal thing to do on a Tuesday until 1:30am) and let himself in at his mate's house as he didn't have enough cash to get home. That's what he told me anyway. Idiot. If you'd like to defend yourself to the world Phil, please write a coment!

While he was lost, a file also went missing but this turned up sooner than Phil did! I was then given a task to do at work that I hadn't done for about a year but to do it five times. I'm feeling a bit jittery by this point - It's 9:30, two things have gone missing and one odd request. Things were calming down by lunchtime when I started to receive a strange string of texts. These were freaking me out a little.

Then for some reason I went to the reception area and was just about to head back upstairs when two big, tattooed men came in and mumbled something loudly, sounding drunk. A secret coded tannoy announcement was made as back up may have been required. This hasn't been done for about four years so hardly anyone (including myself) knew what was going on. Turns out the two unshaven, pond life were seaching for a solicitors above a pub. I told them twice we were accountants and there were no solicitors in the building. Back up arrived in the form of one of the part time receptionists who repeated what i'd said and they finally left. I think they were genuine but had just got the wrong pub to look above and not of high enough intelligence to read the sign on our door perhaps. They certainly didn't look the victims of crime anyway!

Soon after about ten other people came down to see what was going on. Well thanks for your help guys but it's no good when it's all over! I should give a special mention to Lauren on reception who, in only her 7th day of working there, did very well to appear calm under the situation. Back to feeling jittery again, I went upstairs and started looking for hidden cameras just in case I was the next star of one of those stupid tv shows. But I didn't see any and the rest of the day passed normally. Today was boring!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Living in 2002

After posting on Saturday, I phoned the repairs helpline up who told me to do a system restore (shock). I did. It broke again. I phoned them again and they decided to check my restore disk until I pointed out they restored it last time so this seemed rather unnecessary. After a total of about an hour on the phone they concluded the best solution would be for it to go into repair again. Therefore I am laptopless again :-(

While I was in a complaining mood, I phoned O2 to return my phone which takes pictures with a vertical blue line down them all - not good. After five calls I finally managed to speak to someone who could help me and that phone has now gone back so I'm using my old phone with the default date 01.06.2002

I then went to Kate's mum's BBQ which was different in an average kind of way. I'm quite sure a lot of alcohol would have been useful on such an occasion but never mind. Highlight of the evening was probably teaching Ed to play Jelly On The Plate (wow I never knew there were so many verses)! Sunday was a bit of a non event but the German grand prix and the end of the Open golf were both quite exciting.

As you know by now Monday night = quiz night and JJ, Caroline, Kate, her mum and I got 74 out of 145. It was mega hard but we came 7th out of 10. A lot of people thought the music round was awesome but I had only ever heard three songs before so I had to disagree. It was an 80's selection making song of the week A Town Called Malice by The Jam. At the quiz I sat next Neil who I used to work with between 2000 and 2003 and Matt who I used to have night out with every now and again along with their other halves. We beat them :-) which slightly made up for us losing to my old German teacher and his son a couple of weeks ago. In the raffle, Kate won a frisbee and in the funniest moment of the night won some fluffy slippers!

No plans until Sunday now. I wonder what to do...

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Laptop Unrepaired, New Starters

I'll get onto the title later as i'll do this week in chronological order. Monday was quiz night again and Kate, her mum , JJ and I got 85 out of 135 coming 8th out of 14. It was a very full pub again and the landlord even joked about bringing smoking back to stop overcrowding! The best music this week was Toploader's Dancing In The Moonlight - Everybody likes that one!

On Tuesday night I went to The Moorings with Kate and Ed to hear all about Ed's trip to Australia. If you wish to read about this or are visiting Sydney, Cairns, or Brisbane soon then you should visit BlogEd.

On Wednesday I came across a policeman directing traffic on the way back to work from Dewsbury at the scene of an accident. He waved the four cars in front of me through then indicated for me to stop. I heard sirens coming from behind and a fire truck was fast approaching. The cop directed me to the left to get out of the way however this is where two of the crashed cars were so I pointed and remained where I was. The fire truck couldn't get through. He then ran over to me and said

"Can't you hear the sirens? Pull over to the left."

"There's no room there's two cars there." I replied, somewhat cheekily. He then rearranged them and I ended up at a 90 degree angle in the middle of the road letting the fire truck through. I apologised to the cop for some reason as he let me on my way.

Just after that I got a call to say my laptop was ready for collection. Pretty good I thought as it had only been gone a week and they had predicted two weeks. I was tired on Wednesday evening and used it for half an hour and all was fixed.

Thursday evening was when the trouble started. Three crashes in half an hour. This isn't mended, it is doing exactly the same as before. I was on for a while later without problem though. However, late last night, two more crashes to go with two already today has confirmed my suspicions. Another windows recovery looms then it's time to get angry with people. Maybe.

We went out for drinks after work last night to welcome three new starters... except one will not be returning next week for an as yet unknown reason. So instead we welcomed the two remaining new starters Howard and Lauren. I was out until about 8:00 having had 6 orange juices. I then met up with Kate, Ed and JJ at The Allan Fold for another 3 J2O's and then I was full of orange (bit denser than Smirnoff Ice I think) so it was home time.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Brighouse To Halifax Laps

I got home about 5:30 on Friday night expecting to have about 100 minutes before I had to go out to catch a train to Halifax. Instead, I ended up taking my Phil (brother) and his mates to Halifax prior to their Dublin trip. One of his mates had left his passport in Norwich so he was not going anywhere. Halfway up Salterhebble Hill Phil then realises his passport and flight details are still on his bed so I dropped his mates off and returned home.

I then dropped him off at the train station only to find the train pulling away from the platform so I went back to Halifax and back home again leaving me 25 minutes to get ready (including having something to eat). Luckily i'd been out for lunch and had lots of cake so I was quite full so I just had my lunch for tea and then caught the train at 7:33 as planned, not leaving Halifax until about 2:30.

Last night I went to Kate's with JJ and Caroline, and Sarah and John whom it was nice to see again. We went for an indonesian curry at JAva in Sowerby Bridge. It was hot and made my nose run. It was nice but I don't think i'd choose to go there again but only because I'm not really into spicy food in a big way. It should be recommended to those who do like it as it is the 2nd best Indonesian restaurant in the country according to the waiter.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Blogging To Avoid More Important Things

I have a lot of tasks to do this weekend but i'm hungover so i'm writing this instead.

Kate, her mum and I got 82 out of 135 at the quiz coming 9th out of 14. It was as busy as Christmas and as well as it being a lovely evening the smoking ban seems to have sent Big Six attendances soaring. They might have to buy the house next door soon! Music choice of the week (the 11th I believe) Robbie Williams with Old Before I Die.

I took my laptop back on Tuesday. I just had to chat to someone on Windows Live Messenger (doesn't have the same easiness as MSN does it? maybe they should relaunch it as WL) and back one file up. This took 34 minutes as it crashed seven times during that period. A new record.

Last night I went into Halifax with Rob and drank lots. I even had two beers. I didn't see anyone I know and it was a good, but wholly uneventful evening making this the end of the post.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

British Sporting Sunday

The Tour De France was in Britain this weekend. We have five riders in the race, acouple of which had a chance of winning the stage on both days this weekend but neither did.

Lewis Hsamilton was on pole for the British Grand Prix but finished third which is still excellent and keeps him on course for the championship.

It was also the second day of Wimbledon finals today and although Tim Henman bowed out ages ago, Jamie Murray (Andy'sless wimpy older brother) won the mixed doubles title with Jelena Jankovic. The most unlikely British success of the weekend but a welcome one nonetheless.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Earth, Genius, A Timely Breakage

It's 07/07/07 today - another Live Earth concert day to help save the planet. Ed's friend Wellsy has his own panet protecting ideas. I'm not sure I believe in it all really and perhaps it's just a natural cycle and the world will cool down soon. The smoking ban won't have helped as all the smoke formerly inside pubs is now outside polluting the atmosphere but not sure it all matters as that's not carbon. I ramble. I was in a pub with smoke in for the last time last weekend with Ed, JJ and Caroline. It'll be good for all the smokers to be outside and help me spot girls who don't smoke. On the other hand some may slip through the net making my task impossible.

I am now a Music Genius on the iLike Challenge on Facebook and I challenge anyone to beat me (except Ed and Becky who are already ahead of me:-)).

I got well annoyed about my laptop earlier in the week so finally made the bold step of runing the recovery CD back to XP (see previous post). It worked all night on Thursday so I was thinking 'bugger it must be fixed' but sure enough, yesterday it broke a few times and today I rung up technical support for some final advice. I had to do the recovery CD again so they could log it and then do some hard drive tests when i rung them back. I went on the internet for the first time after recovery done while on the help line and before I got to the test, it crashed! They are going to collect it on Wednesday and hopefully fix it. On the down side I will be laptopless for two weeks but hopefully it will work when I get it back.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Hello Again XP!

I've done a system reset to try and solve my laptop freezing problem. Hopefully it will work so i'm back in XP for now with nothing on my laptop.

I'm still not feeling too cracking and am therefore below par at everything I do. However the way I see going to work (for example) is me turning at 50% productivity is better than me not turning up at all, even if some stuff has to be redone hence me only having two half days off (including Monday afternoon) in the last two and a half years. People tell me I should take the rest of the week off and recover fully but I doubt I will and will probably just fight through it.

The quiz went well on Monday with the return of Andrew S and a full quota of Kate, her mum, JJ and Caroline joining me. We got 105 out of 140, didn't text once (which oddly coincided with Ed being on an aeroplane) and came just two points off the money in 4th out of 9. The best song in the music round was the amazing "Man, I Feel Like A Woman" by Shania Twain. This ends my run of respectable songs :-) The big change in the Big Six was that people kept having to be asked to close the door as the smell of smoke was drifting inside. Before this week it has pretty much been the other way round so this is a change for the good.