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What the Hull?

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

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Thursday, December 30, 2004

December Disasters
Just been watching video footage of the Indian Ocean tsunamis. I shan't post links here, just do a google search you'll find them.
The strangest thing is seeing all the people totally unaware of what's about to happen. There's one of someone standing on a beach watching the wave closing in and not running till it's to late to get off the beach. Another shot from a hotel balcony watching the water come in shows a group of people who don't start running till the water reaches them, before the camera holder realises he/she may be in danger and dashes for the stairs. Some of the stills floating around are more worrying showing people running from walls of water or being swept away -makes you wonder what kind of person carries on clicking their camera instead of trying to help.. ..or get out of the way. Just got a BBC news update telling me the death toll has cleared 110,000. Been reading accounts of people who were in the hit areas. Very strange. A few mention the tide retreating dramatically and people walking out onto the exposed sand to collect stranded fish. The Pacific has an early warning system for tidal waves but not the Indian Ocean. The tragedy is magnified by the fact that three hours earlier the USGS reported the "megathrust" earthquake that started the seismic waves to whoever used their service. The countries worst hit by the waves apparently unaware of or didn't interpret the warnings available in this information age.

Last year the news was of the earthquake in Bam.


posted by martin
16:07

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Back at work, it's my seventh to last day. Yup, I'm counting. Spent it mostly browsing the web so far. I'm feel a strange urge to immerse myself in some highly addictive computer game or other, I'll resist it though. I'd have to buy one to do that and I don't really need a time sink anyway.

I went to my local bank to put in Cat's rent at lunchtime. I was sorting out the cash and about to fill in the deposit slip when a bloke with an intense staring expression walked up to me and said with some urgency "I wanna use the pen!" I looked him up and down and said "Go somewhere else then." He walked off to one of the cashiers grumbling, numpty. He'd failed to notice the other six pens dotted about the branch. The pen in question didn't work anyway.


posted by martin 15:48

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Went out on Monday for a few bevvies. Met up in the Admiral then went to Sharkeys for cocktails before heading off to the rural market town that was the hub of our adolescence to meet up with a few more peeps. The pub we were due to meet up in was closed, shame as it was a smoke free pub. We popped into the next pub along, one in which we'd spent many nights as drunken yoofs or coming in second place on a suspiciously high number of pub quizzes. The place hadn't changed much. A lick of paint here, some new paper there, the pinball had gone, superficial things. Probably my first time there in nearly 10 years. I recognised a couple of aged faces from years back, people I used to know strangers now though. The others turned up, Rich and Vicky taxied it from their village, Mike and Emma in her car, Rossy and Sarah apparently walking. Already there was Bill and Mel and myself with Julie. Very couply.. except Helen, the aussie girl Emma brought out. Anyway a few drinks were sunk. The pub did cocktails -cocktails and non smoking pubs? What's happening to the place? Next thing you know they'll be drinking frothy coffee, then wax jackets and wellies will be ousted by haute coture. I bumped into a Gary from my class in school who I hadn't seen for maybe 15 years. After nearly an hour the Rossies headed off, something about an early start drive to scotland in the morning. Rich and Vicky were next. I got some more drinks in. Mike got henpecked hehe. Eventually we were down to four, time was called and off we went, back to urban civilisation(ish). Half drunk I stayed up talking to Julie about how people are growing up. It's a bit wierd to see people's lives changing from the hedonism of youth to focus on career, kids, house, wealth accumulation. Maybe I should be doing that too? I've had a house for ages but whilst people are talking about how much to invest per month I'm ditching a career and trying uni again. I'm feeling optimistic about the coming year.


posted by martin 15:24

Friday, December 24, 2004

White(ish) Wedding
Back from the wedding. Missed the service thanks to taking the shortest route though. It was 140 miles away but took me 5 whole hours to get there. I came back a significantly longer way which took about half that time. Hmph. Anyway the hotel was pretty smart -apart from having firedoors that didn't open. Saw the old faces, well we're all older but apparently no wiser. The Rossies were over from oz, which probably explains the unusual timing of the wedding. Barry was up from down south and his current girlfriend was over, Dom was out minus Mandy, Steph and Mari had come up from whichever southern town they're living in this month.

We had a couple of pints and caught up in the hotel bar before the meal. Surprising how little time it takes us to catch up with each other -wonder if that meas we all lead sedate little lives nowadays.. hmm. Anyway the meal was really good, with a huge choice for each course. Never been to a wedding were you get so many menu options. The speeches startd with an old guy who was a friend of the family of the bride filling in for her departed father. Was quite sentimental as you'd expect but not too bad. I decided to have a glass of water, the noise of pouring water was surprisingly loud.. caused a few old folk to frown my way, I had to reread the menu to avoid laughing out loud whilst Steph showed severe mock dissapproval from across the table. Rob and Nick's speeches were more upbeat.

Can't remember what song the couple danced to Rob told us it was gonna be Smells Like Teen Spirit but I'm pretty sure it was Claire's choice in the end ;)

The bar closed earlier than expected but we got it re-opened -they were supposed to be serving till 2 but when the bride and groom left I think the staff and DJ thought they'ed slope off too. I'd actually expected people to remain up most of the night but they started dissappearing after about half twelve.. Older and wiser no doubt. Barry, Mike and myself were the last to leave the do around 2am. Having been moved into the lounge. We all met up at breakfast and hangovers were surprisingly absent.

Back home now still feeling quite pleased having met up with people but that's slightly been tempered by my noticing how people are growing up. Well I'm sure we'll all hook up again at the next wedding but I cant imagine who'll be next up, probably gonna be a break from weddings for a while.


posted by martin 16:32

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

My life is a bit upside down at the moment. I go to work and hang about all day doing very little as it's my notice period then I go home and work like hell on the house. Didn't go training last night, finished priming the dining room walls and coving instead. Called Billy to find out when and where the wedding is tomorrow. Didn't get to sit and eat till midnight.

Bumped into ex girlfriend Gina yesterday lunchtime. She's been married a year now, they have a dog, a cat and a house. Next month she's gonna be 30. Things seem to be going ok for her.


posted by martin 10:53

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Fuckwits and full schedules
Why do people buy computers they're too fucking stupid to use and too bone arsed lazy to fucking learn to use? I don't understand it and I never will. People expect to be able to do everything on their machines without ever looking in a fucking manual, trying online help or god forbid attending a class in how to use the fucker. I spent 15 minutes last night talking some dumbass through logging onto a fucking laptop with Windows 2000 on it, the password was his first fucking name! Then half an hour later another 20 talking him through putting in his ISP username and password to get on the internet and check his bloody email. For fucks sake..

Aside from that I finally put up a curtain and blinds over some of the new windows. Still need to finish priming the dining room walls and get on with painting too. Was hoping to have hat done in time for xmas dinner.. Guess that's gonna have to wait till after xmas now unless I sack off training tonight. Gotta take a couple of days out right on top of xmas for a wedding. Not having enough hours in a day top do what I need to before my course starts. Forgot to take Mika to the vets yesterday night, she's fine though. I need to lay a floor at some point too. Was hoping to have the room finished for xmas but that's probably not gonna happen now. Haven't wrapped any presents yet. Haven't even bought paper or cards. Need to get a wedding card too. I need to go get Hepatitis B, Meningitis C and Polio vaccinations for my course, mananged to get an appointment the friday before I start. Also gotta find time in the working day to fetch my folder back from Uni for the nightclass I finished last month. Add to that the Yorkshire Bank machine on Princes Avenue swallowed my fucking cashcard last night... looking at 5 to 7 working days to get a new one over a period with 3 bank holidays. There doesn't seem to be anything that branch can't mess up. In the past they've lost letters delivered by hand (twice!), lost all my direct debit details and continued making cancelled payments from my account.. it comes as no surprise that it was their machine that swallowed my card at the most inconvenient time possible.


posted by martin 09:37

Monday, December 20, 2004

Woods


One December Night, Sunnybank.


posted by martin 15:05

Curtain Call
Went to Matalan and returned the bedroom curtain on Saturday. There was nobody at customer services so I took the liberty of using the phone on the counter to call the staffroom and ask for someone. They gave me a refund without questioning the return, I gotta admit I was all geared up for confrontation and argument and was pleasantly surprised. I like shops with no quibbles return policies even if I do abuse them myself sometimes ..such as the time I returned a lawnmower full of grass to B&Q for example, or the years I was upgrading my house phones by returning them to Argos every 10 months..

Took the cable stapler back to B&Q where it set off the door alarm as I walked in, got a refund on it anyway. I said I hadn't realised I already had one when I bought it. Spent the rest of Saturday buying a new bedroom curtain and some blinds. I was surprised how hard it is to buy curtains -unless you want white ones anyway. Found some blinds in Index. Quite a tatty shop -like a poor man's Argos if you can imagine that.. Got served by a tashed version of Lurch, he obviously enjoyed dealing with the public, or perhaps not. Arranged some huge cuddly dogs in Wilkinsons to a more procreational pose. Bumped into Ben, Lee and Hannah. Lee and Hannah are in the process of housebuying. Scary business.. Went home banged up the new curtains, found one of the blinds was missing the screws so decided to reuse the old blinds instead. Put up a ceiling rose in the dining room with a chain through it for a candleabra, looks like it's gonna stay in place. Had to lift floorboards in the bedroom to thread the chain through a meter long iron bar to hold the candle thing up. Later we went to Pave for a drink with Julie, stayed off the lager myself although she had a strawberry beer -those clever belgians will ferment anything it seems. Missed a call from Sam on Saturday night around 4am.

On Sunday took back the blinds and the new curtain as it also let too much light through... Got a lined curtain in the end which does a better job but not as good as I'd hoped -but I'm not changing them again as I've seen every curtain shop in the city now. We parked in the Prospect Centre car park which has a steep slope at the entrance. Some numpty in the car in front had managed to stall his car and evidently didn't know what a handbrake was, after he rolled backwards twice I got out of the car and told him to use the fucking thing. He eventually moved forwards having closed the gap between my car and his from over a meter to probably six inches. Julie said she wan't convinced I wasn't gonna pop him one -but that probably wouldn't have helped stop him rolling backwards. Checked the cuddly dogs in Wilkinsons, they'ed been moved to a post coital cuddling position. Aw.

Potted three fir trees my folks had dropped off during the week, knocked my finger with a hammer whilst breaking up rubble for the bottom of the pots. Isn't gardening fun. Primed three walls in the dining room ready for painting. We went to my folks for tea otherwise we'd've managed all four. It was a messy job but the room looks better for it. Quite a busy weekend.


posted by martin 09:43

Saturday, December 18, 2004

Went out on Bev road. Met a few mates an sank a few beers. Col's reverting back to form, being single again he now has to rebuild hs previously formidable porn collection. Russ has occupied himself meeting a new lady who he since broke up with.. apparently she only wanted sex but he wanted more from the relationship. Eh? Me, Mike and Bill wound up back at no 7 drinking beers and channel hopping. Haven't seen my ladyfrend since Wednesday. She was on a works do tonight and texted to say she got home ok.

Spoke to Zoe toay, she couldn't make it out 'cos she's working. Seems all the police are doing public order tonight. The BBC called it Black Friday. Bumped into Sally in the Haworth, haven't seen her for ages. Talked about pulling with Russ, porn with Col, and everything in between with Mike and Billy.


posted by martin 02:27

Friday, December 17, 2004

Pavement


Princes Avenue


posted by martin 15:42

The shape of things to come
The Buddhist Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan forbids all tobacco sales. Yup they've really done it. They already banned smoking in public places and now they're banning all sales of the cancer spreading stuff. Hopefully it's the way forward. They've got major child malnutrition problems over there, people who can't reach medical resources, populations without infrastructure, adult literacy below 50%, a 7% infant mortality rate and they've taken a step that first world nations are too fucking stupid or profit driven to do. To stop the population poisoning themselves and their kids with fags. They had already imposed a 100% tax on cigarettes.

This left behind remote mountain locked nation banned polythene bags last year. They weren't keen on the environmental impact of the bags as litter and or the impact of their production. Nowadays we all know how plastic particles are showing up in every environment from the marianas trench to alaska.. Why is it that a country with adult literacy below 50% is bright enought to do this whilst we dispose of about eight billion bags a year.

Before the rest of us pollute, poison and consume our way to an early grave leaving the planet a pollution riddled rock bereft of life I reckon those buddhists should get off their mountain and kick the rest of the world into shape. They need to get on the blower to the first world: "Hi Bushy baby,this is Bhutan, do this, this and this then send our kids some of the excess food that your kids are overeating." and "Hallo London, this is Bhutan calling, we have some ideas that could save your NHS a fortune, and when your population are no longer choking and cancer farming could you ship us some the medical supplies your no longer using? and maybe some health workers?".


posted by martin 14:03

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Windows 2004
The new windows and doors are all finished now. The EYG guys finished at 19:45 last night, and a very nice job they've done. There's fine black soot everywhere from in the sashes. Cat was vacuuming when I went back for lunch. I've taped some newspaper to the loo and bathromm windows for now. This weekend I'll try and sort out blinds on them and curtains on the other windows. I've got a curtain up in the bedroom, but it lets so much light through as to be useless -so that'll be off back to Matalan this weekend.. Still the windows look great and it's nice to have windowsills. It's much warmer too, the back ofthe house seems more open with the white door in place -I had to have a curtain over the thin single glazed door that was there before to try and keep heat in.

This morning I realized the font door is broken. Not in a major way tho. Looks like someone's trodden on the lip at the bottom of the door and cracked the wood. I'll need to glue it and clamp it whilst it dires. Problems being I haven't got a clamp and it'll need to stay open whilst it dries. Need to do a bit of tidying up and repainting round the windows, especialy the landing window where Julie did such a smart job of painting. EYG have done a much neater job the ColdSeal's cowboys managed when they did the front of the house so it won't be a major ballache to sort out. All that and put up the ceiling rose and candleabra in the dining room and paint the walls and ceiling. Wonder how much I'll get done this weekend.

Finished cabling Laura's office yesterday. Having got my staple gun working again. My first staple went straight through the solid cat5 cable severing a wire or two. I tried again and the same thing happened again. My staple gun doesn't do wide enough staples.. aaargh! although it does claim they're 10mm staples. Maybe they had smaller millimeters in Argos where I bought it back in the nineties? I re-terminated it and charged off to B&Q (where else..) where I forked out £21 for a decent cable stapler. It had a decent cable guide and got the job done nicely. I'll probably never need it again though so I'm gonna try taking it back to the shop for a refund "Er it was the wrong sort, I didn't realise it was just for cable staples, I'm a bit dim sometimes see. Yeah just refund it back to my credit card cheers." It's a bit cheeky but not below me :)

Copied all the data from a mates 8 year old desktop PC to his brand new laptop. The laptop was bought for £3.5k three years ago by a relative who donated it to him having never used it. To illustrate how fast informaation technology ages it's about a third the power of my desktop PC built last year for a sixth of the cost -and half that was the TFT screen. I also popped round to Laura's and had a look at her machine. Her mate had been looking at some dodgy porn sites and managed to install a shedload of spyware, diallers, advert downloaders and other malware. I ran Ad-Aware on it and located 100 items, but crashed when trying to remove them. I left it downloading some anti virus software. Whilst I was being super helpfull to people I gave Cat a lift into town then popped round to Julies for the night.

This is my twelfth to last working day. Not that I'm counting..


posted by martin 16:42

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Housework
The back of my house is being double glazed! Yay! Six windows and a door are going in. Work started at about half eight yesterday morning. It's down for a three day job but I wouldn't be surprised if they get it done in two. Looks like alot of fun ripping out the existing sash windows. Strange to think that as they're tearing out the wooden frames they're exposing surfaces that have been in darkness for a hundred years. Last night all six windows were in place, I left them tearing out the back door this morning. After the door they'll need to put the soffits or whatever you call those plastic trim things that go round the windows and seal it all up. The sashes were full of really fine soot that's gone everywhere. Gonna be a pain cleaning that up.

At the mo there's no curtains up at the back of the house so I stopped at Julies last night. I've got tomorrow off to sort out some curtains and blinds. Also gonna finish of cabling Laura's office tomorrow too and share out their internet access.

Got an xmas card from Vicky yesterday. Billy called asking how much council tax is, looks like he's maybe found somewhere to move to. Got an xmas present for Julie yesterday :) Got a couple of things to still get.. Finished varnishing the skirting boards in the dining room, next thing is the ceileing rose then painting can start.


posted by martin 10:52

Sunday, December 12, 2004

Julie's folks came up this weekend. Friday night we stayed in and had a chinese meal. On saturday night we went pubbing. Started off in the Zoo. The DJ played his usual cream of the 80's mix.. Baltamoria and Reynolds Girls to mention but two of his choice cuts.. After some unusual hybrid tracks and some beatles (eugh) we hightailed it to the Linnet where musical sanity awaited in the form of Ten Pole Tudor's "Swords Of A Thousand Men" aswe walked in. Cool. Julie folks left after a couple and we stayed on. Spent today varnishing and sanding the skirting board in the dining room. Just waiting for 20:00 then I can apply the last coat. Exciting stuff.

I've got eDonkey working through my router and have now decided it's the best thing since garlic bread. Since changing to CD many years ago I haven't played cassettes, this meant my collection of psychobilly has gone more or less unheard for ages. thanks to eDonkey I'm gradually replacing it. OK yes I know it's killing the music industry.. but er it's not like I'm not the only one -I guess that's why it's such a problem.. -blame the ISPs and telcos. Actually blame the high street music shops having such a piss poor range on offer. HMV on Whitefrigate doesn't even stock Sisters Of Mercy..

I put an audio track on the Bundy website at last.


posted by martin 19:29

Friday, December 10, 2004

The day after
Went to Bug on Wednesday night for the first time this year. Saw loads of people I haven't seen for ages. Wound up very trollied. Cheap vodka and Carling did the trick. Thursday was a bad day though. I'd booked the day as holiday knowing I'd need it to recover from Bug.

I woke up to the not unfamiliar sound of pussycat Mika throwing up. Feeling hungover I tried to ignore her to deal with it later.. but she sounded unusually close by. I looked around the room. She was on my bed less than two feet from my face spewing used food onto the sheet. That got me out of bed pretty sharpish. I sent her downstairs but she stopped to puke some more, so I put her outside and had to clean up the vomit. I was very hungover and very tired, catsick wasn't something I felt like dealing with before breakfast.

Then I got a call from Laura. I'd agreed to network her office computers on that day. I grabbed some clothes and headed out still feeling dead to the world. I found the place and figured out what I needed named a price and went off to get some lunch, a hub, some cable, cable staples, mini trunking etc. I got the trunking first and popped into burgerking for a morning after meal but they didn't take plastic so I left unfed. I then got the other stuff and went home to pick up some tools. I loaded the staple cables in my trusty staple gun and found they were the wrong size. They're stuck in the gun. Dunno if I'll ever get them out. After over an hour driving round I bought another staple gun and had breakfast at about half three. The new staple gun wouldn't take the cable staples..

I was planning to use some existing mini trunking for a seven meter cable run. I'd seen in one corner that there appeared to be only one cable already in there. I opened the trunking were the computer was and to my surprise found it was actually crammed with cables which of course fell out. Yay. I pushed them back in and closed the trunking up again. I ran the cable along the floor instead. I needed to drill through one wall that was about a foot thick thanks to space between the plasterboard and brickwork, looks like someone hid some water pipes in it. Armed with a huge masonry drill bit I merrily started drilling. After a while I realised the drill had stopped cutting. I pulled it out, reinserted it and tried again. I could smell burning. It felt like I'd hit some sort of wooden board. I went round the other side of the wall and decided to try and drill through from there and meet the hole I'd started. I got through the plasterboard fine andhit the wooden board. Who puts wooden boarding between brick and platerboard? I had to nip home and get a wood drill bit. That got through. I dunno what type of wood it was or why it was there but the bit came out black and charred. The two holes roughly met up which was a relief, it then took about an hour to get the cable threaded though the four layers of wall.

I plugged the three cables into the hub and watched as two failed to light up. In my dead to the world state I found I'd wired two of the six RJ45 plugs backwards #@$&! I redid them and got them working fine. Then I had to put the three machines into the ame workgroup and share some folders. That's a doddle. Well it would've been if Windows XP Home Edition doesn't insist on bringing up those idiot guide wizards and let me just do what I needed myself like in Professional Edition. Still they're working now. I got home just before 20:00. Knackered. I still need to pop back and share their internet connection when they get that sorted and staple the cables to the skirting when I get a new gun or some cable clips. This morning I popped to B&Q to return the staple gun and some trunking I didn't use. They refunded it to my card which boosts my profit for the job. I've got about 80 meters of cat 5 cable left over and a RJ45/RJ11 terminating tool out of the job so I might look into doing other jobs when I start studying.


posted by martin 10:23

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

This and that, again
Handed in my notice on Friday. I wrote a really smart resignation letter using pieces pulled from existing resignation letters on the internet. I finish on Thursday 6th January 2005! I'll be an unemployed person for 3 days then a student. I did more work on the dining room over the weekend. Went for a meal with Julie on Friday night, wound up in a Pizza Hut, Twas rather nice. On Sunday I went to see Col and catch up on things, we got a curry in Cottingham. He's single again. I had a look at a laptop he's trying to get working with a wireless access point so he can browse the internet anywhere in the house or garden. I wonder what that'll get used for.. hohum.. ;) I stopped over at Julie's last night. She got me a Matt Skiba/Alkaline Trio bootleg from ebay which I'm hoping I'll get to listen to tonight after training.

When I got home this morning I found Cat's made a start on varnishing the skirting boards :) Looks like it'll take alot of varnish though, the wood is drawing it in. The Coving is finished at last. When the skirting is finished I can make start on painting the ceiling. Gotta figure out how to get the ceiling rose up first tho. It's made of plaster and quite heavy. Need to screw it into the joists somehow. Can hardly reach the ceiling standing on the top of a stepladder though and my tallest step ladder is a very old, wobbly affair.

I've been playing with my firewall/router. Think I've got eDonkey working as best I can, it's managing up to 20 KBps but averaging lower which means I can still browse the web whilst it's running. Downloading Catwoman as a test and some Murderdolls and Depeche Mode just 'cos I can. Not sure if I'm gonna stick with eDonkey or WinMX.


posted by martin 16:22

Friday, December 03, 2004

Acceptance
Just found out I've been accepted for the Uni course I was after. Starts in January. I've got to write a notice letter to my employer and start figuring out how to live on a quarter of my current income. I just hope it works out.. it's very daunting really.

At the moment I'm at work, Julie's round at mine painting the hallway. I've spent the past few evenings tinkering with the computer & router. Went training on Tuesday, was a good session. We did very badly in the Linnet pub quiz on Wednesday. Got a text from Spence at half two this morning.


posted by martin 11:53

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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