Pop goes the resolution

I knew it would happen sooner or later. It has turned out to be sooner. My once weekly post pact has been shattered through a combination of illness, new job business and generally just being alive. I apologise for keeping anyone waiting fora new post. I have truly been a terrible blogger for the past few weeks. I’ll try to make up some ground with updating you now.

The new job is going fine.  It’s really not what i want to be doing in the long term and the hours are horrible (1:00-4:30 pm and 5:00-8:30 pm) but it’s a job and it pays me money. I am finding however that my voice is really struggling to cope with seven constant hours of talking four days a week. If anyone has any tips on how to keep your voice healthy when doing this much talking I would love to hear them. I’m trying to drink lots of water and ever hot lemon and honey to soothe and nourish it but I seem to be failing. I was also struck with a horrible sore throat on the third shift I had there which still isn’t getting better due to my voice not being able to rest properly. It’s becoming a drag. Also, because of the sore throat, I had to cancel an audition for a band that were really keen which has annoyed me immensely.

The music side project is also going well. I am in contact with a number of people with regard to auditions and have had very positive feedback form the auditions I have been to. It all goes to build my confidence and push me on.

Lastly, I have had a letter congratulating me on being shortlisted for a student paramedic’s place. Hurrah!!!

So really – even though I haven’t posted anything in a while – I really didn’t have much to tell!

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A Musical and The New Job

Well it was my first day of training today. I learned a lot about how to get more money out of people for charity. I expect tomorrow will follow the same theme. The people there, both existing staff and fellow new people, seem lovely and friendly and I enjoyed myself.  That’s all I have to report after my first day really.

On Friday we were lucky enough to get some free tickets for the musical ‘Jersey Boys’. The tickets were free due to unfortunate weather conditions preventing family from Sheffield getting down to London to see it. We were pleased to make sure the seats weren’t left empty. All in all it was a very enjoyable musical. I didn’t realise that Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons had written so many songs that I didn’t realise was their material e.g. ‘Beggin’ that was covered recently and ‘Oh what a Night’ as well as the better known ‘Walk like a Man’. It was very well performed. Nothing seemed to go wrong and there wasn’t a single set/costume hiccough. there was however a rather silly, drunk woman sat opposite us who decided that the standing ovation was a good time to launch her fists at the person behind. It’s a classy affair this going to a theatre business.

White Out

On Sunday Afternoon, we noticed a brief snow shower and  managed to grab a photo through the living room window.

The shower lasted about 2 minutes and none of the snow settled. The snow tried to come down in dribs and drabs for the rest of the day but failed. Imagine my surprise when this morning I woke to find this.

I immediately cursed my laziness the day before. I had procrastinated and postponed doing the food shopping until the next morning. This was the next morning. I wrapped up warm and braved the cold. Apart from my gloves, I was all set. I found the car looking like this.

That’s our little Yaris. Now remember I said I couldn’t find my gloves? After clearing the windows with the ice scraper, my hands felt like…..actually, I couldn’t even feel them. The snow was so deep that my trousers had accumulated quite a covering around the hems. Thank goodness for sensible clarks winter boots. Not having wet or cold feet was a blessing.

I positively crawled the mile to the supermarket. It was worth it however as the place was deserted. I don’t know if this was more to do with the snow or the fact that it has just turned 8am. Whatever the reason I didn’t care. I despise food shopping as the supermarkets are always teeming with people who like to stand in the centre of the isles and discuss what they will feed Mary and Tim when the visit six months on Friday. It agitates me beyond belief so wheeling my trolley around with no plebeians in the way was simply glorious. It can snow more often for me.

I do however find it highly amusing that the English as a nation seem incapable of dealing with snow. I received a call from my other half at about 9am informing me he was on his way home from work. Apparently most of the people from his team hadn’t been able to make it into the office and therefore his services were not required. I don’t know if it is a coincidence but the lifts in his building were also broken. He normally works on the 31st floor so to get the call to go home when you have used steps all the way upto the 25th floor must be a bit grating.

Next Stop – Personal Computer Hell

For a week or so I have been nursing along a PC that served me well since my second year at University. The fan attached to the case of my PC had very nearly given up the ghost. Due to this much reduced airflow (I described it to one of my friends as producing as much air as a gentle fart) my graphics card was overheating when playing my favorite online game and even when browsing the web. In order to perform some functions, the case’s air inlet required a hairdryer on cold setting pointing at it and turning on. In the last few days the side panel of the case was removed and the hairdryer was on constant stand by. It was not in a happy place.

It was decided that for a budget PC, it had done it’s work and should now be retired to someone who will use it with the onboard graphics for word processing. It’s time to be a glorified typewriter has arrived. A budget was set to get the components needed for a new PC. My first purchase was a second hand case from a local networking website. For the sum of £25 I acquired an Antec Sonata II case. Bargain. Advice was gratefully taken from a knowledgeable friend and we arranged to meet on Saturday 31st January in order to go round  a computer fair. Once there, I could see my other half looking longingly at components superior to his own. I knew what would happen if I upgraded my machine and it ended up being superior to his. In three months we would again be at a computer fair spending money to upgrade his machine to be superior. After a quick discussion we decided that he would upgrade his PC and I would have the components he replaced. This was good for me as his second hand parts work out a lot cheaper than brand new ones. It did however mean that we needed an external hard drive for backing up purposes as both PCs would need hard disks formatting and therefore could not hold any information. We purchased a 300GB external drive from Cex and a screwdriver set from Maplin. Now armed with his new motherboard, processor, 4gb of RAM and a neat little tool kit, he was the happiest chappie in town.

Over lunch we discussed the intricacies of dismantling two PC’s, salvaging the relevant parts then rebuilding two PC’s. Our knowledgeable friend very kindly volunteered to come back to our house and help build/format/test the machines. This is an offer we were both grateful for as in the back of our minds, we knew with no help we would still be building PCs on Wednesday. We got back with all the goodies and began the tedious work of first backing up documents onto the external hard drive then dismantling my old PC. My old PC was a Dell. They are notorious for customising their cases and motherboards meaning the only salvageable parts were the ones I had already upgraded. They weren’t too bad to remove as some DIY case modification (read hammer) had taken place previously. Once out, the components were replaced with the original Dell parts and the case modified (read bent with a screwdriver) to accommodate them again. Brilliant. A third of the battle was done.

Next, the other half’s PC was stripped. His old motherboard, processor and RAM went into my machine and he gleefully fitted his shining new parts. Our knowledgeable friend was chief builder for my PC whilst the other half cracked on with his own. Here’s a few action shots that the chief equipment technician (read passer of screws/screwdrivers/maker of drinks i.e. me) took




As you can see, knees and computer chairs masqueraded as work benches. The place looked like a PC building sweat shop in some seedy backstreet where the workers are paid in rice grains. By about 11pm that evening both PC’s were up and working with Windows being installed. The other half’s machine was fine but mine kept rebooting itself quite randomly. This meant that hardware had to be tested. Various parts were removed and put into the other half’s working PC. After hours of faffing we thought the problem was solved. By this time though, our knowledgeable friend had missed his last train home so it was out with the airbed and on with the sleep.

Next morning all was looking peachy. The PCs seemed to be running fine. I set about playing with mine when – uh oh – a blue screen of death and a reboot. *Insert Swearing Here* We tested all the remaining hardware by slotting it into the working machine and it all tested ok. Final thing before crying – a Windows re-installation. I masterminded this as the other half and the knowledgeable friend popped off to maplins for some other large fan that glows blue. Very tentatively, I loaded all windows updates and hardware drivers. I kept loading and loading and loading. No reboot. I loaded more. No reboot. I loaded everything. No reeboot. I played World of Warcraft. No reeboot. Oh Happy Day!!!!!!! A new PC! The knowledgeable friend finally managed to go home at about 4:30 pm Sunday afternoon. I’m guilty that we stole his weekend but on the other hand – we would still be doing it now had we not.

A Weekend of Culture

The weekend of 17th and 18th January brought us our first weekend of the culture that London has to offer. I am however making my post on the weekend out of sync with the rest of my blog as I wanted the pictures off my telephone but I have had PC problems that will be covered in another entry.

Anyway, we embarked upon a theatre trip with a friend from Camberly. In choosing what play to see we had considered several options. We wanted something light hearted as the feeling of a reeling brain was not on our agenda. This leaned us towards the possibility of a musical as they require slim to no synapses firing. My other half however has a fairly inbuilt distaste of musicals which seems a little misguided as he’s never been to see one. We conceded however that maybe his first theatre trip should not be to a musical. So on with the search. Within the limited ‘comedy’ genre we found several options but nearly all were discounted once reviews were read and cast members googled. After a lot of eliminations we were left with a play called ‘The 39 Steps’. It was a very fast moving comedy with a total cast of four. Between them, the four player portrayed a staggering number of characters. I think the programme quoted it as 150. You think that may sound like an immense amount but the script was very cleverly written and really fitted the character transitions. They were humorously done and wonderfully acted. By the end of the matinee, the female lead was beginning to grind on my nerves a little as I felt she was over acting her part. It didn’t feel like it was written to accommodate the amount of personality she injected into it. Overall though it was a very enjoyable play.

We then ventured into China Town but went via Soho as I forgot which way China Town was. We did arrive in the end though and ate some good food. Avid readers of this blog will remember the photos I took of rather marvellous cakes last time I was in China Town. Well this time, I bought some cakes. I absolutely NEEDED to know what the animals that topped the cakes were made from. The cake was purchased with a direct intent to dissect it. In the process of buying the cake though I ventured around the single most amazing shop full of wonderful treats. I had no idea what any of the treats were as I couldn’t read a single label. All I know is that I wanted to eat them all. I refrained from taking more photo’s of cakes as I fear my blog might start to look too tasty and I dont’ want to be billed for new keyboards due to excess salivation by the user. Back on track now. I purchased the following. One neon pink pig cake

and one ‘Red bean’ cake

Once transported safely home. The dissection began. To much surprise, the pig topper was found to be entirely ‘whippy’. It was just a creamy neon pig. You have got to give credit to the makes of the cakes though as to achieve such a cute looking little animal using just whippy cream/stuff is truly admirable. Here’s a dissection image.

The cake the pig was mounted on was moist and tasty. The pig however tasted of basically nothing. He was all air and no substance. The red bean cake was just………well………a little like a fig roll, but much much blander. Not unpleasant but something very neutral you might enjoy with a cup of tea. Whippy Pig and Odd Bean Cake were devoured over the course of the evening where Guitar Hero and Sing Star provided entertainment.

A pleasant weekend was enjoyed by all. The man from Camberly assures us the next culture trip will be to see Les Miserables. Watch this space.