Tuesday, June 29, 2004
Spiders, flies, BBQs and free live music.
Another weekend's been and gone. Went out to Spiders on Friday :) First time there in a long while, James asked if I'd forgotten where the place was. Unfortunately Julie was knackered from a very early start which put a damper on her night, but she declined my suggestion we leave early. Drank many green gremlins, saw many people, ventured onto the dance floor. Was like a night from days gone by well except that I didn't get legless and fall over ..hmm.. don't really miss doing that tho.. Ben's car setero got swiped whilst he was in the club.
On Saturday it was Donna and Matt's BBQ. They'ed rebuilt the front wall I was going to do for them. I was actually going to take a Friday and a Monday off this month and do it at last.. Anyway I couldn't find her house as I'd always looked for the one with no wall, had to phone from the car.. I lent them my BBQ because although they had charcoal and food that was the one thing they were lacking. Went to Toys'R'Us with Donna to get a copy of Trivial Pursuit for later. Andy came by, he's been inspired by my recent career change plan to get himself back to University to study under an NHS bursary, he's going for radiography. He needs to do a year long access course first but I don't he'll have a problem. I'm still waiting to hear back from Hull Uni myself.. Closing date for applications is this Wednesday so keeping things crossed. Matt exploded an egg on the BBQ, cool. Left to go see Julie who was a bit under the weather, she was listening to the Brian Adams gig at the KC Stadium through her living room window. Fixed her DVD player in the morning.
Watched Big Fish with Cat last night then went to Julie's. She'd got me some sushi to try. Like it.
Just got two fly eating plants from Ebay delivered this morning. I noticed when I leave the windows open all day flies congregate on the upstairs landing where I have the cat's waterbowl. My thinking is a couple of pitcher plants should put an end to that. So I've got some Sarracenia in, hope the cat's don't maul them.
posted by martin 11:41
Thursday, June 24, 2004
Still thinking about salaries
The current director fella doesn't like automatic payrises. He wants something more performance related. That's a good idea. However.. that is what we already had. This bloke is on £125,000 -if he doesnt get a few percent increase in line with inflation it really won't affect him for a very long time. I've had a look at the firms profits for the last financial year. They come in at 9.95% below plan. However we were also told the forecast profits were unrealistic. OK so either the sales people didn't make the grade or whoever projected the sales figures for this year made a mistake. Reflect it in their salaries, no problem. I work in tech support. Our client base is always expanding, my team has remained the same size since 1999 when I joined.This means the same number of people are doing more and more work as time goes on. To say you want to pay people based upon their performance then give them the bare minimum to keep up with inflation is like accusing someone not performing in the previous year. To be honest I find it quite frankly offensive.
I'll be updating my curriclum vitae this evening and contacting a couple of agencies. I'm still waiting to hear back from Hull Uni but whether I stay in IT or not in the long run I shall definitely be looking for a move in the short term.
posted by martin 16:54
Monday, June 21, 2004
Belated pay review
We got our pay reviews at last! Almost a month later than expected and following on from last years debacle I was expecting good stuff to happen. Bearing in mind last year we all got marginal raises due to our teams imminent expansion, which didn't happen, then back in November our boss got a promotion to "senior management". Also bear in mind that I work in Information Technology and this year the average pay increase has dropped to 3.5%. I was really surprised with the final figure. We got a huge great big nearly a month late review of.. 2.5%. It took all that time to say "cost of living". If you're looking at cost of living pay rises then you may as well go work in the public sector. There was a boatload of reasons to do with profitability and so on given for this years poor review. However the only thing I think of is what hits my bank account every month, I'm not exactly a "team player" or "company man". If I wasn't already thinking of moving on then this would've swung it. I'm thinking a word that sounds not unlike bullocks but doesn't mean farm animals.
There would be a few expletives in this post but I'm blogging from the office. The last time I got a 2.5% review was at a firm called ABC Ltd. I told my manager I wouldn't be staying with the company following that and left a couple of months later for more money and less work..
Had a smart weekend. Julie and I were both skint so we stayed in watching Cat's DVDs and cooking. Did a spot of people visiting too. Saw Colin & Becky then called round Billys and borrowed a nasty looking knife type thing to sort out the front garden with and a leather punch to adapt some leather bracelets to make a posture collar for Julie. The front gardens now tidier and the collar looks great :)
posted by martin 17:51
Friday, June 18, 2004
Police league tables
The Humberside Police Force came second from the bottom of the first police league tables. Being graded on 16 categories and awarded points base upon performace the Humberside Police came second by 1 point from the bottom of the table. So it's official out of the 43 different Police Forces in the country the Humberside Police only just made it to second worst place. Nice to know I'm getting value for money with my council tax then. I used to work for these clowns and left after under two years when I decided they were just too disorganised, not what you'd expect from a police force really.
Analysing the results BBC's Home Affairs Correspondent Margaret Gilmore said "The ones who, when they get new intelligence, respond immediately preventing rather than reacting to crime." are the forces who did betters whereas "Those at the bottom of the league are the ones who take longer to analyse intelligence and thus take longer to pinpoint the crime hotspots." Or to paraphrase "The slow ones are at the bottom". So whereas some forces try to stop crime it appears that the Humberside Police let it happen then mop up the mess. What used to really get to me, when I worked for them, was in the police car parks they had those signs that say "Car thieves operate in this area". If they can't look after their own back yard can you really expect them to look after yours?
posted by martin 17:15
Get to see Julie this evening :) She finished her latest batch of night shifts at about 07:00 this morning. Looks like it's going to be a night in as we're both still quite skint from the Dublin trip. Got a text from Wez asking if I was up for 80's night at Pozition.. couldn't afford it but that's probably just as well as I'd be dying now if I had. Also had a text conversation with Keith the night before, he's doing two jobs now, learning to drive and taken an interest in linguistics. Went running in the evening, a couple of laps around Pearson Park in the light rain.
posted by martin 10:33
Tuesday, June 15, 2004
I don't care about the football.
Went to Lancaster on Saturday night. We went to meet Julie's mates and cousin in a gay bar of all places -I kept thinking of the Electric 6. Being secure of my own sexuality I couldn't care less if a bloke is straight or gay but the predictably pap music was something I just couldn't ignore. Met a very tedious old bloke who seemed to like touching women a hell of alot for a fag.. He was a colleague of one of J's mates so I had to be pleasant. Some other old bloke tried it on in the bogs. I dunno what he was on but even if I'd been gay -very gay, on the pull, gagging, at ten to two and drunk he wouldn't have been in the running.. I wasn't really impressed with the place, unsurprisingly, could've used some better music and company that didn't bug me. We moved on from there to the Bobbin then to the Dark Place which was ok but J was a bit bored. It's not really a good venue and there weren't many people in there she knew which was a disapointment. Was a change of scenery for me I suppose -well ok the gaybar was a change of scenery too but that sucked. Shame to go so far for such a pap night but it happens.
Sunday night saw us walking round Lancaster's park then popping into one of the university bars. As the campus is on the edge of the "city" they're quite easy going about non students going there. The bar wasn't what I expected but apparently there's alot of them. On Monday we did a spot of relative duty then hooked up with Juliet for lunch. Turned out to be a good weekend despite the Saturday night. Shan't be seeing my young lady for a few days now owing to her shifts for this week.
posted by martin 12:04
Thursday, June 10, 2004
Went to put some euros into my bank account at lunchtime. Brought the branch to a halt. They use a paper based system where they had to look up the exchange rate on a piece of paper and write the transaction in a book, fill in a load of forms then get a manager to check and countersign them.. welcome to the 21st century. Anyway they forgot to charge me the commission this time so I don't mind too much. Spending the afternoon listening to football stories, just I'd been thinking this job couldn't get anymore boring I find myself mistaken.
As I drove to work this morning, running a little bit late, I saw Laura walking up Princes Avenue. Couldn't beep her though as my horn still isn't working. Was planning to get my boiler fixed next month but might get the car done instead.
posted by martin 17:14
Wednesday, June 09, 2004
Definitely didn't want to get out of be this morning. Nine o'clock creeps up on you though.. hmph. Anyway after work I finished fixing a mates computer, i'm sure I'm gonna get asked something else about it though.. still got a crate of stella for my troubles :) Got home and decided to assemble the outdoor table that's been kicking about in a box for to years or more. It's really Laura's but she said I can keep it. anyway i pulled out the bits, checked they were all there... bits of wood, glue, screws, nuts and bolts all present. Great. First instruction: Varnish all wooden pieces prior to assembly. So off to B&Q to get some varnish. Decided to pick up a cheap jigsaw to get the floorboards finished too. Dropped a litre tin of varnish on the floor in B&Q :( Couldn't be arsed to do anything about it so picked up a new one paid and left... got home not sure the weather will hold for varnishing so I decide to finish the floorboarding. Except the igsaw has a battery that needs to charge for 5 hours! Not my most productive day.
Got a letter from NMAS to say they are sending my application to Hull uni. Talk about slow. Ah well progress anyway I hope. Gotta download and install AdAware on my PC then update the anti virus software tonight. It keeps trying to download an executable whenever I login to Windows XP. Fucking adware, spyware etc.. I remember the day when the internet didn't have adverts all over it.. OK only computer people used t for computer related stuff but at least we didn't get bandwidth clogged with frickin adverts for ringtones and viagra back then..
posted by martin 20:42
Tuesday, June 08, 2004
Bad day. Not so much a "Why did I get out of bed" kind of day as a "Why did I wake up?" kind of day. The high point was walking home seeing a bloke try to pick up a 50p coin someone had glued to the pavement.
posted by martin 18:25
Tuesday, June 01, 2004
Got back from a five day trip to Dublin with Julie late last night. We stayed in the Gresham, which is a 4 star hotel. I could've happily stayed there for a few weeks longer.
Dublin is a very cosmopolitan place, I think only 40% of the population is over 35 years old so it's pretty buzzing. First major surprise: All the bars and restaraunts are non-smoking. Cancer fans have to go outside to poison themselves. Smart. Can't wait for that to catch on over here! We ate out alot, too many places to list. Most of the food was really good, I'd reccomend "Le Shack" on Temple Bar and suggest avoiding "Le Med." There were lots of street entertainers mainly musicians and singers but we also saw a pretty funny Canadian fakir who did a spot of fireeating and a bed of nails, and a fella with a limbo routine. We also heard some live music in The Auld Dubliner bar.
We managed a pretty varied trip taking in museums, a prison (disused and restored), a zoo, bars, restaraunts and cafes. On the second day we took a guided tour on an open topped bus, I thought the commentator was pretty good, his knowledge was impressive and his banter was witty.. untill the next day when we used a different bus and got the exact same speech complete with "ad-libs". Learnt quite a bit of historic and literary info and saw Oscar Wilde's house. I now know the difference between an edwardian and a georgian door..
I'd like to say it's nice to be back but I'm back at work so obviously it's not that great. On the plus side we've all had some kind of pay rise but we don't know how much and the guy who gets to tell us isn't in till Monday. I know the company is doing very well at the moment as we get updates on profits and so on every month, I also recall we got poor raises last year so I should hope for something significant this year. Got my registraton card back from NMAS in my absence so have to see if get an interview or not..
posted by martin 11:33