Category Archives: Fings

I can haz a birthday!

That’s right and not just any old birthday for today I’m 30! Whenever I’ve thought of turning 30 it’s been with the same horror and disgust as Baby Spice in the Spice World movie.

Now, if you’ve been around a while, you will remember this post. My bucket list of Fings To Do Before I’m Firty! So, how did I get on?

Well, firstly, and this isn’t an excuse, well it is, but y’know, in the last year my career took a rather unexpected but pleasant turn. I became a Senior Consultant at my firm. The Most Senior Consultant in fact, if you listen to my boss. Essentially I’ve been incredibly busy and therefore incredibly lame at completing this list. That said, in the last year I’ve felt an incredible sense of personal growth. Certainly more than in the last five years I reckon.

1) Australia. Yup, we did that. It was amazing! I can’t wait to go again.

2) Skydiving. Fail! Just haven’t got round to it and didn’t see an opportunity for it in Aus. I did contemplate hot air ballooning over the MCG but we didn’t have time. Went on the Neighbours tour instead!!

3) Get a tattoo. Fail! I got as far as deciding what I want. I was supposed to go yesterday but the studio couldn’t get their shit together via email so I will have to go in and see them. They’re in London so it’s not like I can just walk in and I refuse to go anywhere else. They really are the best.

4) Give blood. Fail! But oh dear Lord have I tried! First time I booked I ended up with flu on the day so had to cancel. Second time they came I was in Aus and then had to wait 2 months after getting back. I went on Tuesday thinking I’d make it just in time. But then it went horribly wrong. I got through the assessment and sat in the chair. The nurse did all the prep, in goes the needle and suddenly “Oh dear, I need some help over here!” and cue two other nurses rushing over. Not really sure what actually happened but I left with a big bandage:

and now I have some crazy bruising!

This has not put me off trying, I’ll go when this has healed.

5) Buy a digital SLR. Score! I’d actually already done this but I’ve definitely kept up to this as a hobby and even launched my first exhibition.

6) Take a picture of myself every day. Score! I’m also creating an art piece from it as I found it became a really interesting project. As I mentioned, it has been useful to track my mood swings. You can tell when I’m normal, genuinely happy, faking the happy and even whe I’m down. It’s all the eyes. For that reason, I think it’s worthy of the Saatchi gallery!!

7) Go on a photography course. Score! Well, I went but it didn’t pan out. The college was useless so I quit and got my money back.

8 ) Ride a motorbike. I used the money from the photo course and rather spontaneously booked my CBT. That was a fun day!

So not a bad end to my twenties. On the final day, I had bacon butties for brekkie on the BBQ, bacon fajitas for lunch and pigs in blankets for tea. Score!

Jesus Rode A Harley Davidson

I, on the other hand, rode a 125cc Yamaha. Rock and roll!

Part of my Fings 30 list was to ride a motorbike. This is something I’ve always wanted to do but was never allowed. I’m a terrible driver, had many, many lessons and haven’t even been put in for a test. So I’ve never really held out a lot of hope for riding a bike.

When I was writing my list, I was being realistic. I didn’t want to put 100 things that I’d never achieve in a year but I also didn’t want it to be too easy so I rather flippantly put in riding a bike to set a challenge. I wasn’t sure I’d pull it off but then a couple of weeks ago, the idea popped in my head again and I thought sod it, why not?!

I booked my CBT with the local bike centre. Paid £99, really cheap. Then, the mother of all Neighbours story lines, Stef crashed her bike and killed Ringo!! The day before my test!!!!

Thankfully, not a bad omen.

I got up super early on Saturday and got a taxi to the centre, which incidentally, is in the arse end of nowhere! I was the first person there as usual. Next up was two incredibly over confident 16 year old kids. Great. I was expecting to just be put on a shitty little 125 scooter thing but instead, I got this absolute beast of a bike. It was some Yamaha thing that looked pretty fantastic and it was a manual so I had to learn clutch control and gear changes.

We spent the morning doing theory and riding around a car park. It was really difficult, I really struggled and just kept asking if I could go on an automatic. I wasn’t allowed. Fascist! He kept saying it was for my own good.

Then came the time I was dreading. Road time!! We spent about 3 hours on the road. I did over 50 miles. I was fucking terrified for most of them! I was gripping my bike for life. But as time passed on, I started to really enjoy it. It was incredibly freeing. We went all over Cambridge, just tearing up the road. At one point I got up to 40mph and at another we were just bombing through the countryside. It was awesome!

It was also absolutely freezing. I was completely under dressed and I think it’s going to take days to thaw out. On the way back it got really dark and misty and my glasses fogged up and my visor fogged up and my radio comms went out so I was riding almost blind. Navigated my way back though and when I got there, they presented me with my certificate.

I did this very much on a whim and I’m really, really proud of myself. It’s one of the scariest things I’ve ever done. I’m also considering buying a bike and taking it a lot further. It may become my favoured mode of transport. I may also progress and get my direct access license so I can ride bigger bikes. I would freakin love to ride a Harley one day.

Fings I Like Friday (23)

1) My tattoo. A minor repeat I’m afraid but relevant nonetheless. As we move into the cold weather season, I stop wearing T-shirts and go for long sleeves. This is sad. No longer will my sleeve creep up my arm revealing a hint of blue and no longer will a hasty choice of T-shirt be an issue in the work environment. For the next 5 to 6 months my acquisition of the year shall remain hidden. I salute you!

2) Pumpkins! Usually I’m not very creative and when it comes to the yearly pumpkin it has three triangles and a big hole for a mouth. Not this year! This year I searched google, found a pattern, hand sketched it on a pumpkin and carved it out. This little dude is completely badass!

3) Bonfire night. As a Yorkshireman, I’m always on the side of ole Guido. I celebrate his heroics, not his execution. Pics coming on Wednesday. The missus has also made parkin. I’m looking forward to eating this.

4) The cats. I bought a new laser pen toy for them. Aurora loves it and keeps chasing it around the house. Mr Park (or Parkin for the bonfire period) just lies there and watches it pass him buy, occasionally batting a paw at it.

5) The missus. In the face of adversity, she just keeps swimming! She is also currently studying massage therapy and I’m her test subject. This means bi weekly massages. For free. Saving me about £280 a month! Sweet!

6) Foo Fighters. Yes, my beloved band are touring again. I have tickets to see them in Milton Keynes. Shizzle!

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1) PSN games. I love them because they are only £8. I love them because they are simple but addictive. I love them because they are digital and there is no packaging.

2) The PlayStaion Move. Well, it arrived. I have two controllers due to some terrible communication from Amazon mixed with my own impatience! It is awesome! It is better than the Wii. It is very accurate and a whole load of fun. The EyePet works better, Planet Minigolf works better, the sports games are great. I had a bitchin’ round of badminton the other day. Lots of demos last week have been keeping me occupied. Fab!

3) Windows 7 and Office 2010. This week I got my new PC from work. It’s just a Dell but it’s 4Gb RAM and 500Gb HDD with a massive 21.5″ screen. My old PC was falling apart. Literally. It kept overheating so the case was off, the extra drives had been ripped out, it was awful! This freed up my old monitor which is now connected to my netbook which runs my Skype and Outlook now so I got rid of my old laptop. Also a piece of shit! It just feels so good having new, fast hardware and up to date working software. I feel more productive. My desk is a lot tidier. I have more room. It’s just a nicer environment to work in.

4) My new photography course. One of my goals this year was to sign up. I did so and it started this week. Not quite what I was expecting, more artsy/wanky but it’ll get me through and give me projects. This week it’s vantage points. I will post the results next Wednesday. We’re expected to use Mac’s in lessons. I will be taking in my laptop. I hate Mac’s.

5) The missus. Just for being!

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w00t! On time this week!

1) The missus – I totally left her off the list last week by mistake and my oh my have I heard about it!! So this week she is first. She has now finished work and is working from home completely self employed. This is good because I get cups of tea brought to me, Time Outs and other choc goodies, decent lunches and most importantly random cuddles!

2) The Windows command prompt. Whilst not a pretty face, very useful. Sometimes it’s just easier to go old skool. At some point I’ll write up an article on how to connect to and send files via FTP using the command prompt. Exciting stuff. When you cross this line, there is no going back!

3) SQL coding. I love SQL. I love SQL scripts. Again, sometimes it’s just easier to get right in there, skip the crappy wizards and friendly UI’s and just write the damn script yourself. Once you’ve sussed it, go back and finish up quickly in your application.

4) Neighbours. Paul Robinson is God! Have you been watching it this week? With Steph and Toadie and Libby? I don’t know who to support. I despise them all equally.

5) The PlayStation Move. Launched this week. Demos downloaded. Just waiting for my controller to arrive. Will go to the shop tomorrow to buy an additional one.

Stuff I Like Sunday (20)

Ok, a little delayed on the Fings Friday this week. It’s been a super busy few days. I need to be a lot more disciplined with this blogging lark!

1) The Playstation. This week the Playstation turned 15!! I remember being a big fan of alternate systems like the N64 and the Dreamcast and then one day I was introduced to the Playstation 1. This amazing console that you could cheat on and pirate games with. This amazing console that had Gran Turismo on it. This amazing console that in all its incarnations has been a solid feature of my life ever since that day. Happy Birthday little buddy!

2) Big Brother. Well, it’s finally ended. I’ve watched most of/bits of every single year. It has dominated my entire twenties. How sad is that?! I’d go through phases over the summer where I’d actually think cameras were in my kitchen watching me cook. Yeah, that’s not good is it?!

3) Weezer. Oh man I love Weezer! Thanks to Spotify, they have been my most played band of the last few weeks. I should probably do a Music Monday on them.

4) Wardrobe clear outs. I’m a hoarder and I go through weird phases. I’m not into fashion, at all. I see a T-shirt style I like and I buy it in four colours and wear them to death. Then I do it again and again. Same with trousers. My wardrobe was getting full so I decided it’s time to get rid of all the faded stuff. Which is most of it! Now I have lots of space to go buy more similar T-shirts.

5) Lists. Yeah, in case you haven’t guessed, I’m one of those people. I love lists. I love making them, half finishing them, creating new ones etc etc. I love paper lists. For some reason, there is no good computer based list making software. They are all too rigid and completely inflexible. It’s like someone decided to make list making software but this person did not list the requirements. This person is clearly not a list maker. It would be like me, a man, designing tampons.

Fings I Like Friday (19)

How is it Friday already?

1) The cats. They make me laugh. Sometimes I hyperventilate! Yesterday I took the string from our veg boxes and let them chase me around the house. Mr Park kept getting low then pouncing, missing, low, pouncing. Miss Aurora vaguely waved an arm in the direction of the passing string. Brilliant!

2) Pancakes. Who can be bothered to wait for pancake day? We have pancakes usually once a week. This morning we had completely vegan ones, the recipe is getting better, and then we had a syrup of stewed strawberries and blueberries. Yum!

3) Living a simple life. To re-iterate my eco post, it’s living a simple life at heart, not necessarily just having no stuff. It’s about disconnecting from all your baggage. To quote a random Google Reader article I was sent:

There are three happiness killers:

Doing work you do not love and are not passionate about,
Surrounding yourself with people who you do not really like (someone who just fills time),
And living somewhere that does not let you be you.

Just stop it.
Life is far too short.

Indeed!

4) Money management. The missus and I have very different attitudes to money. I have now taken over everything. I file everything neatly, I have an Excel spreadsheet for each of my accounts, I have an overview summary which shows me everything. It’s awesome! Can you tell I work in accounting?

5) The missus. Today she retired. Well, not really, she’s not that old!! What she has done is leave PAYE for good. She is now permanently self employed. Working for the man just doesn’t suit her. I treated her to a lovely lamb and mash dinner to celebrate. Recipe to follow on another day.

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1) Joe Danger, obviously! See yesterday’s post.

2) Tumble dried towels. Oh they’re so soft and squishy and lovely! I’m enjoying the softer clothes. I have yet to see my electric bill…

3) Successful project go lives. Only a few days late but for once, I’m not to blame! It’s been a tough project. Sometimes fun, sometimes not. I’m glad it’s over though. On to the next!

4) Promotions and payrises. I have apparently proved myself. Apparently a lot of things have improved since I started working from home. Whilst a compliment, it’s a bit back handed. I thought things were good already. I guess not. Anyway, as of Wednesday I’ll be a Senior Consultant. You must bow in my presence.

5) The missus. Yeah, she’s still awesome. She has bounced back from the blip and already has a million and one entrepreneurial ideas that she’s putting into motion. I don’t know how she does it. I could never be self employed!

Fings I Do Not Like Friday (1)

The UK tax system. I mentioned this earlier on Facebook. My base pay is good. Any commission I earn will be hit by the 40% tax rate. 40% can you believe that? In Australia it’s only 30% upto $180k and the VAT is only 3%. I am most definitely in the wrong country! However, as I mentioned on Facebook earlier, I never thought that I, a Northern boy from a council estate would ever be in a position to piss and moan about the 40% tax rate! Amen!

Fings I Like Friday (17)

1) Taking a daily photo of myself. It forces me to smile which puts me in good stead for the rest of the day.
2) The tumble dryer. I haven’t used one in years. Like about five years. Out of choice too. But I figure I need to make a balance. I can either hang stuff up on the radiators over the winter and make the central heating completely inefficient and waste a load of gas or I can use the leccy and hope wind farms become a reality. It’s a tough call. I’m going to roll with this for a bit to see if it makes a difference.
3) Not being in the firing line on a delayed project. Usually it’s me. On this one, I’ve done all my bits and everything is (currently) working fine. The other guys are getting the shit. That’s a nice feeling.
4) Electronics. I did GCSE Electronics. I made an RC monster truck. It was ace. I got offered an apprenticeship as an electronics engineer. I turned it down and after a while pretty much forgot all about electronics. I’m currently working on a high speed photography project. I’m building my own sound flash trigger. I hope to extend it to a motion sensor and get some fruit in milk splashes. I found a schematic and I’ve figured most of it out and bought most of the parts on ebay. Looking forward to this. There’ll be a blog and maybe my first YouTube vlog too!!!
5) The missus. So, I totally cursed it all last week. The new project fell through and now she is almost sans employment. Luckily I got a payrise this month (and a promotion) so we’ll be ok on that front but it’s quite a hit to a persons self esteem, on top of the aforementioned psycho hosebeast boss, so I hope all is ok under the surface. Chin up!

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Wow! Another week gone in the blink of an eye!!

1) The six weeks holidays. Obviously I’m not at school anymore and obviously I don’t actually get six weeks off over the summer, but I still get that joyous feeling when it gets to August. I dunno, things just seem to chill out all around me. Like, people are looking after their kids, colleagues/clients go away on holiday, the stress drops a little. It’s fab!
2) The rain. It’s been hammering it down all day. I’m lucky enough to work from home so I’m not pissing and moaning about it. I love hearing it on the corrugated roof of the conservatory. It’s pretty cool.
3) 24. I’m currently on series 4. It’s beyond ridiculous, completely OTT but completely addictive!
4) Photography. It’s totally my thing at the moment. I love it. I had a really shit day at work the other day and I just took an hour out doing some water drip shots. I got totally in the zone and forgot all about work. It was awesome. Pics later.
5) The missus. She handed in her notice at work so she can move on to bigger and better things. She’s starting an empire by the sound of it. Her boss is being a total psycho hosebeast who just needs to be flipped upside the head! Only a few weeks left!!

I’m totally in a dude mood today! Anyway, happy Friday 13th. Enjoy slaughtering children or whatever you int0rw3b freaks do on these days.

Fings I Like Friday (14)

Back to normal this week.

1) My new camera. It’s wonderful. Still haven’t figured out all the buttons yet but just working in auto/aperture/shutter modes is working out nicely so far. Scene modes are pretty good too.

2) Birthday celebrations that last all weekend. This year my birthday went from Friday to Sunday culminating in some home made courgette cakes. They sound icky but they’re actually really quite delicious.

3) My new office. I moved upstairs before the weekend and this week has been my first full week in my new space. It’s pretty cool actually. It allows me a degree of headspace once the computers are switched off and I’m out of my work environment. I’m planning on getting some spider plants in there and today I had some vanilla oil burning. The best part however, is “arriving” to work in the morning and being greeted by sunrise:

4) The cats. They’re so lovely and completely different. One is a photo whore who loves posing

and the other is not interested at all

5) The missus. Not a photo whore but loves her nibbles

Until next time…

Fings I Like Friday (13)

This week I’m opting for a slightly different take on Fings Friday. Today is my birthday. I am 29. That means I have a year before I’m 30. I can haz do the math!

Now, before you start, I’m not freaking out about this like most folk. For the most part, my 20’s have been a lot of fun. I once came home from the pub in the boot of a car. Without the driver’s knowledge. That said, there’s still a few things I wish I had done by this point in my life.

So I’ve decided to come up with a quick list of Fings To Do Before I’m Firty. I hope to achieve everything on this list in the next year but if I don’t, it’s no biggie.

1) Go to Australia. I have my visa sorted for this already and it’s planned for April 2011. Buying the tickets soon.

2) Go skydiving. I reckon I’ll do this in Oz. If I’m going to plummet to my death I’d much rather do it over a nice view of desert than English fen!

3) Get another tattoo. I really should have more than 3 by now but I went on a funding hiatus. Foolishly. The next one will be something that represents the last 10 years. Perhaps a tattoo of a bottle of Jack Daniels.

4) Give blood. It is beyond sucky that I haven’t done this by now. Seriously!

5) Buy a digital SLR. I worked at Jessops a few years ago and got into photography in a big way but haven’t been able to afford an SLR. Until today. I actually went out and bought a Nikon D5000. Because of this list. More on this in another post over the weekend.

6) Take a picture of myself every day and make a montage video thing at the end of the year. Started today. It may also act as an interesting way to track my mood.

7) Go on a proper photography course. Always worth learning something new.

8) Ride a motorbike. Never done this but I probably should’ve done this. How badass would I look on a scooter?

Then as a catch all, I’m going to just generally be open to doing more things and not worry so much.