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What the Hull?

Unfocused thoughts and random diary entries on the journey through life.

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Friday, August 29, 2003

Online banking.. @*$#!

I was checking my Smile current account today when I noticed a payment for just over £500 to the MBNA European Bank (an Alliance & Leicester credit card in fact) had been made twice. That's a a debit of £500 made by mistake. I've spent ninety bloody minutes phoning both parties to get this sorted. Smile say the MBNA people screwed up, MBNA say Smile screwed up. Smile actually say I gave MBNA my debit card details as their system shows the second transaction as a direct debit card transaction, this is quite wrong.

End result: on Monday I'll be calling someone at the MBNA who will transfer the funds back to my Smile account on the same day. Smile say I will be charged interest on being overdrawn (due entirely to this unauthorised transaction) and as they say the MBNA are in error I will need to get the MBNA to pay this. The MBNA on the other hand think Smile fucked up, so I suspect they'll be reluctant to pay it too. Who did mess up? Well I suspect smile as they are the only people with any record of the erroneous transaction.

Once the MBNA have popped the money back into my smile account I'll be writing both parties an email requesing that they sort the interest out between themselves quickly. After this has been done I'll have had an empty bank account all weekend which pisses me off and I'll have spent probably 2 hours sorting out this cock up. The other thing is even if it was the MBNa who screwed up Smile should have noticed that two payments in a week for £500.12 each is outside the normal spending pattern for my account and queried it with me. I tink two payments of the exact same amont like that should've rang bells regardless of how I use my account in fact.

There is alot of concern about the security of online banking but it seems a bit pointless if the bank is going to give away all your cash anyway..

Hmm here's an interesting site about the MBNA turns out they're not exactly ethical investors. Think I'll close both my accounts with them when this is sorted out. Speaking of ethical business take a look at ethicalconsumer.com.


posted by martin 18:59

Just drove Laura, Theresa and the other Laura to Manchester airport this evening. Got flashed by a bloody speed camera. Bollox. They've gone to somewhere in Greece for a fortnight. I've only been to Greece once myself for weekend. Unfortunately I stayed in some slummy part of Athens and left me less than impressed.

Finished my patio on Monday, looks great. Got paid on Wednesday. Banked 4 cheques from ebay auctions today. Casual day tomorrow. Idi Amin didn't get any kidneys and died. It's been a pretty good week I guess.

Other stuff...

Every 6 months the company I work for gives every member of staff a "Performance Development Review". It's a chance for the company and employees to set performance targets, point out room for improvement and suggest resources or training that would help. Sounds a bit like a manager P.R. excercise but it's actually quite handy for both sides. For exampe if you think you could do a better job if the firm paid a few training courses (that woud look good on your cv perhaps) or splashed out on some new software it's a good time to bring it up, likewise if you're doing a piss poor job then that's when you'll hear about it.

My review was on Wednesday. I know that I tend to clockwatch, don't find the job interesting, lack work motivation and tend to tread water -do enough to stay afloat but don't really make a concerted effort in any direction. Seems no-one's noticed those things because despite all that it turns out I'm doing a really good job. I am one of the strongest technically in the team and a valued member of the team and all that. Now, this leads me to think if I got my arse into gear and really pushed I could accomplish alot.. but between martial arts and my social life I don't really have the time or energy left for the work thing.

Right, publlish this, let the cats in and go to bed.


posted by martin 01:38

Friday, August 22, 2003

Laura got sent home from work sick today, didn't go see her though -working outside again. It's been a nice change to do some physical work outside instead of talking to fuckwits on the phone in the office. I doubt I'd be enjoying the outside work as much if I wasn't working at my own pace though, come to think of it when I'm at work I tend to go along at my own pace anyway. I don't think I have the right work attitude to ever be self employed. Once I did a couple of days work at a caravan factory for some dodgy temp firm to raise some cash to go a mates wedding, that was pretty hellish. I was surprised how everyone else was working as fast as they possible to do as much work as they could their shift. Me, if i'm getting an hourly rate or salary I'll do enough work but not kill myself over it. Actually many years ago, just after I left uni, I did a spot of temping for another agency, they put me into a post typing up a database of names. It was supposed to have been a weeks work but I did it in 2 days.. I got paid for 2 days work. Learnt a lesson from it though.

This week is really shooting past. It's bit akward avoiding an inverted sleeping pattern. It's soo tempting -and easily done.

Off for a meal on Saurday night, it's Cat's birthday. Wonder if her new tattoo will be ok to look at yet. She's getting one of H.R.Giger's images on her shoulder. Should be cool.

Hmm no bids on my carrier bag yet.. maybe people aren't quite as stupid as I think. Or maybe they are but they already have carrier bags. Who knows. hell, who cares anyway?


posted by martin 01:09

Thursday, August 21, 2003

Work on the patio continues apace. I've have laid down all but 3 of the complete pavers so tomorrow I'll be chopping the rest into shape to accomodate the curvy garden wall I built last summer. Was hoping to go to "Bug" tonight -rock night that was in The Room but moved to Pozition (yeah I'd spell it differently too but I don't own a nightclub..). Gave it some thought and decided if I'm going to spend Thursday chopping up pavers with an angle grinder I'd best have a clear hangover free head.

Hired Star Trek Nemesis this evening, it's been going for an hour so obviously I'm really bored -why do they keep knocking out these pap films? I'm just glad it was a freebie. Decided to test people's limit this evening. I'm auctioning off a Jackson's carrier bag on ebay for £1 plus 70p postage and packing. Will it sell? I can probably locate another 100 or so if it goes..

Saw a film called "The Ring" last week. Hilarious. Definitely one to watch with the kiddies.


posted by martin 00:49

Wednesday, August 20, 2003

More patio work.. found out why the wacker plate was stalling. The "ON" lever for fuel needs moving away from the word "ON", vorsh sprung durch technik or something very similar springs to mind.

Got the angle grinder yesterday, very nasty looking piece of kit. The guy from the hire shop showed me how the on button worked. Press a button with your thumb then pull down the switch, simple. He omitted to say "..and the switch stays down even after you let go untill you press the button again." So, when I plugged it into my extension lead the thing was still turned on and started cutting a path across the garden. not a nice curve either, it was more like brownian motion. Oh yes, an angle grinder with a spinning nine inch cutting disc merrily zipping towards you certainly does get the adrenalin pumping.

Gathering the cash from my ebay sales seems pretty easy, using a paypal account for that although three people are posting me cheques -got one today. Luckily I live a stone's throw from a post office so it's not a huge hassle to send my stuff out once sold.


posted by martin 01:39

Sunday, August 17, 2003

Idi Amin is looking for kidney donors.. that's the former Ugandan president who's regime killed and dissapeared some 400,000 people. At 72 and with that much blood on his hands I suspect there are people more deserving of donor organs. He's had two donors turn out to be incompatible and lets hope he gets no more offers...

On the plus side all my ebay auctions ended this month and everything sold, the totals add up to just over twice what I was asking. I'll never throw anything away again, it's all going onto ebay!

Working on the patio today. The wacker plate keeps stalling ..


posted by martin 17:00

Spiders again -where else would I go? Spent today moving sand, cement and pavers which left me knackered, so I went out just after midnight. Good way to save cash that. I was planning to stay in tonight but on Friday I'd said to Tat I could lend him an old mobile phone to take to Leeds Festival -not somewhere to take a swanky new phone. So with old phone and charger in a carrier bag out I went. Tonight the kiddie count was very low and the "people I know" count was high -which makes a decent night. Outside I got introduced to a girl who lives across the road from me, turns out she knew Wes. One way or another everyone from Hull seems to know everyone else from Hull, of course I'm from a village outside Driffield.. Got an Alien Ant Farm poster as I was leaving the club, not really into them but thought I'd give it to Laura maybe, she owns ANThology afterall. Gave it away to Helen though.

Outside the club Debbie and Cat were sat in Steve's taxi when some townies came by and started with the "Room for another passenger" and "where you going to?" routine. Cat told them where to get off and then one of the bright sparks decided to keep hold of the window so she couldn't close it. This brought Steve out of the cab. I figured he was going to tell them to piss off and they'ed walk of giving it verbal, just in case though I crossed the road -don't want to get barred and last time I intervened in a rumble that's what happened. Turns out it did kick off. Not for long though.

The townies were the same ones that'd tried to threaten Tat last week but this time they'ed brought a some mates along. Too much of a coincidence. I think they came by just to kick off, they even left it till nearly three so there were less people around.

The one who was most up for it, tall and gobby, was wearing a tie. A tie? Outside sweden and Norway who the hell wears a tie on a night out? And if you're up or a brawl then use your noggin and take it off... Tie's are accidents waiting to happen at the best of times. I know this, I have to wear one for work.

Back to the sand, cement and pavers I mentioned earlier. I'm building a patio this week. Taken me ages to get this far, I kept running out of cash. to do the job I've hired whacker plate -thats an eighteen inch >Wide< petrol powered vibrator! It's to compress sand for the patio base. It runs on unleaded is incredibly noisy and really smells.


posted by martin 04:23

Wednesday, August 13, 2003

Working, training, eating, sleeping. What a complicated life I lead.

Got round to looking at ebay at last and put up a few things for auction, 9 copies of 2600 'The Hacker quarterly' from 1995 through 1997, a few old playstation games (well I don't have a playstation), and some other bits and bobs. Had some interest in the 2600 back issues from someone who wants to buy them all. Might hang on to them and readvertise them as a collection.

Sold off my very modest stock market portfolio (30% up after deductions -not bad for only 3 months) so now I have enough cash to finish the patio. The ground has been prepared for over a year now, spent ages last year smashing up hardcore for it and building a dividing wall.


posted by martin 01:42

Sunday, August 10, 2003

Been to the "White Room" at last! It's a pub near Spiders that used to be called the "Full Measure". well now it's the White Room and it's pretty cool. The Dj (bloke called -I think- CJ) plays Machinehead to the Four Tops and everything in between. AND you get served pretty quick too. Too be honest it feels alot like being at a chill out session in a student flat. Nice place to go before spiders but if they got a stupidly late licence it'd be a spot on place to wind down afterwards.

I saw the brother of an ex girlfriend, Natasha, and being a sociable chap I said hi. It was really wierd. He was the most insecure kid I've ever met. He seemed surprised I'd spoken to tasha a few weeks ago and already knew what she's up to nowadays.

Anyway at the end of the night Tat hopped into Gaz' cab which really pissed of Gaz -till he realised he'd left his light on. Then some townies walked past me and Tat and one of them decided to give it gob bigtime. Unfortunately when you're making threats it loses something if your walking away talking backwards over your shoulder. Kids today..

What else? Oh I gave Shaun back a book on Karate he lent back in 1997. Yeah I had it for 6 years. Anyway tonight I wrote a cover note and popped it in the cloakroom and gave him the ticket -at last.


posted by martin 05:02

Tuesday, August 05, 2003

A few weeks ago a company called "GKR Karate" began recruiting in the job centers for "Self Defence Consultants". I've heard that the firm is big in Australia and had a look for them on the web. There seems to be alot of people with bad things to say about them and their websites put me more in mind of pyramid selling than of martial arts. Anyway knowing martial arts and money don't really mix well I decided not to apply for the "Self Defence Consultant" post. I later found on one of their official websites that these "Consultants" actually go door to door touting for students -I also looked at their advert which included the phrase "no experience necessary, full training will be given". Most serious matial artists agree that it takes at least three and a half years of training in martial art before it has any positive impact in real life self defence. The phrase "cowboy" sprang to mind.

Anyway someone from my Kung Fu club did contact GKr on the mobile phone number they gave out (mobile? that starts tiny bells ringing and makes me think of phrases like "earn a second income from home" or "the get rich quick scheme that really works!"). The post he was going for was managerial. When he went to the interview at Henry Lloyds the guy interviewing him arrived late. It seems to have gone downhill from there. He said the guy seemed to be trying to sell GKR Karate to him rather than asking him why he was good for the job. Oh, and the job involved... ...door knocking! Imagine my lack of surprise. What did surprie me though was that the advertisements I have seen -including the print out from the job center advises that the job pays the minimum wage -it also says £40,000 OTE. Well the interviewer told my mate that the job was entirely OTE based, there is no regular wage. Give me a home where the buffalo roam...


posted by martin 21:54

Been negelcting my rambling blog for a while. I seem to be living in interesting times though. A few weeks ago a sudanese guy was attacked in Retro and found in the doorway of Hammonds in the early morning. He later died from his injuries. The guy who killed him has been named and his photo shown on the news as the police are looking for him. Turns out he was the previous tennant in the house Laura moved into last month. The police called round there looking for him. So Laura came to my place for a few nights. I saw on TV that they think the guy has fled the country. Laura knew him from when she was running temps for an agency in town, you get to meet the best people at temp agencies...


posted by martin 21:29

The Author

Unbalanced opinion and general wittering, sometimes in the small hours after a night out. Legal disclaimer: take all of this as fiction.. Any likenesses to persons, events or companies living, dead, past or present is purely coincidental..


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