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posted by [personal profile] pmsumner at 07:29pm on 03/10/2010 under , ,
Mood:: 'indifferent' indifferent
location: LL11
Music:: Simpsons on Sky1
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posted by [personal profile] pmsumner at 09:55pm on 21/12/2009 under , , , , , , ,
My life seems to have become very busy all of a sudden. OK not so much now, with everyone stopping over Christmas, but my "normal" weeknights are now all taken. I've got 2 rehearsals a week, singing lessons once a week (though I may try to switch to doing one longer lesson every 2 months), a defined "shopping" night (we're trying to be sensible, though I'm not sure it's working) and then the night reserved exclusively for WINE.

Singing lessons I have been looking at doing for a while and a month or so back I finally made some more phone calls after my initial attempts in summer ended up being fruitless. The lady I'm doing them with (Jo Cleeton) has been good - I kinda just turned up and went "Teach me to sing better", and she's done a good job at finding things I'm good at, and things I'm bad at very quickly. She's helped with some techniques to work on and I am sure that I will see some definite benefits in the not too-distant future.

Related to the singing, we have recently obtained a half-decent (musical) keyboard. We got rid of the organ, at last! I'm starting to play a bit again (I did piano for a few years at school) and am struggling to cope with 2 hands, though definitely improving with practise. My music reading does suck, though it always has.

I've started using Last.FM "properly" today. For months/years I've been scrobbling through iTunes (recording all the tracks I play on my iPod) but never really used the radio/recommendations/artists similar to functionality. Only when I found and tried out the official application for my phone did I see just how cool it is ;) So right now I'm listening to "If I Can't Love Her" from the Beauty and the Beast cast recording. Lovely.

Christmas is coming. I've been concerned lately about my mum, who has been unwell, so Jane and I spent the last weekend down at theirs and I had some time to talk. She seems to be happier than I expected, so am slightly less concerned but still worried. I'd love to get them to commit to saying that they'll be doing something over Christmas - I appreciate that it's difficult when you're starting new drugs that you never know how things will be the next day, but I don't care. I'd be happier to know that they're with people than being miserable and alone.

So my Christmas plans are somewhat meh. I've got some stuff for Jane, I guess at the moment I'm going with the default option which is Jane's parents and friends. Not sure what I want.

I recently flogged a whole load of CDs/DVDs on eBay. Didn't make much money overall, to be honest I only would have made just over what I spent if I hadn't acquired some jiffy bags from work and had someone not vastly overbid on my box set of Cube/Cube 2/Cube Zero. I am happier for having done so, and making money was not the object of the exercise. I got rid of some stuff I have had hanging round for years for no good reason. CDs I haven't looked at for 5yrs, stuff I bought because I thought I'd watch it again or because I thought it would be cool to have. Anything I looked at and decided I wanted to keep, I did, but that still left about 30 CDs and 20 DVDs to sell.

I am loving my mobile phone more and more all the time. Android is a powerhouse, an up-and-coming star in the mobile device world. The app store/market may not yet be as enormous as the iPhone one, but 12,000 apps is still a lot! If I could say that I use my phone for 3 primary things, I think these would be:
  1. Twitter
    I use (at the moment) Swift as my Twitter client. Twitter on the move is one of the most insanely useful/useless things in the world
  2. Google products of ALL descriptions.
    Android being a Google product it's obvious that the integration between Google products and this phone will be tight, and it really is. Calendar, Contacts and Email sync without any effort. Google Reader works really well, Picasa looks good on the small screen, and the newly installed (for me) voice search is remarkably accurate. Google Goggles is not so much "useful" yet, but very clever.
  3. Navigation
    I bought ALK CoPilot 8 for Android, and for under £25 it is an amazing price - turns the phone into a fully featured and actually very good SatNav. Free speed camera updates are a nice bonus. If you don't want that, Google Maps is useful, but turn-by-turn navigation is not yet available in the UK. It's still usable as a navigation aid, but it's not as nifty as fully-fledged navigation software. It also fails spectacularly when you go out of mobile/data coverage, as Google Maps loads everything on the fly and doesn't appear to cache anything.
Speaking of technology, I have an urge to do some proper geekery again but I really need another PC to do it on. I got tired very quickly of breaking my one and only PC, where fixing it became a necessity rather than a thing to do because I wanted to. Heck, I haven't compiled a kernel in a long time, it just seems like too much effort on my day-to-day PC. One day I'll get round to finding a second-hand PC and rolling my own server for DNS, web, MTA, etc. Having a domain completely within my own control and providing all services for it was a real learning experience.

Work - I'm liking my job at the moment. I have almost pushed myself out of direct customer contact. There's still the occasional period where I have to do the calls but I guess it's a necessary evil for now, and there's nothing to keep you on your toes like having to figure out what a customer means versus what they are actually saying. I am almost exclusively "3rd line" now. I spent nearly 3 weeks exclusively looking into one problem that affected one customer - or at least at that time we thought it affected one customer. Seems to be many more. Anyhow, it turns out that we were breaking a message up and sending "\r\n" and "HELO" in two separate TCP packets for some reason. This was causing chaos between our kit and some mail servers. Tracking that down from the original "The email stops working after a while" report took several iterations and many dead ends.

I am quite pleased though, however also slightly disappointed. The job I went for a while back, that they went external for in the end? The manager for them told me the other day that based on the work he'd seen me doing in the past few months, he'd take me on without bothering to do the interview if he had the budget. I'm pleased because it's SO nice to know someone is noticing that I do try hard, but also miffed because I either didn't sell myself strongly enough at the previous opportunity, or he's admitting he was short sighted :)

Oh, tonight's tea:
  • Parsnips roast with crab-apple jelly
  • Sweet potato roast with chorizo and paprika
  • Boiled Anya potatoes
  • Steamed carrots with caraway

I think that'll do.
location: CH3
Mood:: 'pleased' pleased
Music:: Stephen Schwartz – Recurring Dream from Uncharted Territory
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posted by [personal profile] pmsumner at 10:54pm on 29/03/2009 under , , ,
Since my last update I've not been doing a huge amount of exciting things. Last weekend we went to Jane's parents' for the afternoon/evening and had tea there, it's been a while since we did that. It was remarkably stress-free, and their new car is shiny :)

I've been enjoying rehearsals for OMTC's next show, the director appears to have calmed down somewhat after a period of intense stressiness where he just shouted at everything and everyone, or so it felt. Now he's calmed down he's actually seeming to enjoy it, and the cast are too! I'm very happy with two of the numbers I'm doing - Empty Chairs at Empty Tables and Suddenly Seymour. They've both come along brilliantly. The Song that Goes Like this isn't really all there - it's OK but some of the people in it really aren't comfortable with the music. We've only done a few run-throughs of it, and not much just music learning. It does miff me a little that they don't ask, however it's now a bit late!

Timeless to Me is just pure nastiness. The arrangement we're doing starts off low and goes even lower. The one that John Travolta does in the film is probably half an octave higher, I'm jealous of him!

Work is continuing along. My sideways move without anyone noticing has been continuing unabated. I'm possibly planning a trip to Scotland to help with the final sign-off on a large project (Kilmartin seems to ring a bell in my head, though I don't know why - having looked at where it is I can't imagine why anyone would build a cash counting centre there). I'm still annoyed at at our developers and product managers for doing things arse-about-face.

Home is home. Our landlord is still a bit ditzy and hasn't done some of the small things we brought up ages ago. I've decided that since we've told them and they agreed that something needed doing and would arrange something, it's no longer our responsibility. There's nothing major so I'm not fussed too much but it's still tedious.

Been playing some more with Quidco, now that they've decided to pay out the £120 from ages back I've forgiven them somewhat and am using them for a few things. Seems like a decent way to get a bit of cash back on things I would have bought anyway.
Mood:: 'pleased' pleased
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posted by [personal profile] pmsumner at 04:46pm on 25/01/2009 under

This weekend I have successfully:

  • Tidied up and cleaned the extension cable
  • Got the smell of white spirit out of the house after above
  • Cleared out the living room of all the accumulated crap and put it elsewhere
  • Cleaned the kitchen properly
  • Cleaned the bathroom
  • Contacted a local electrician who will do a free quote for connecting those sockets
  • Dropped off and picked up [ profile] pipsytip
  • Moved the clothes mountain
  • Downloaded Battlestar Galactica Ep12 for Jane, and watched it myself!
  • Drunk copious amounts of Beer (yes, capitalised) at the National Winter Beer Festival in Manchester, and got home in one piece.

So, done plenty. Probably could have done more, but there's always a limit :)

Mood:: 'pleased' pleased
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posted by [personal profile] pmsumner at 12:02pm on 07/12/2008 under , ,
Jane and I went to the Trafford Centre last weekend. We arrived at about 11am on a Sunday, thinking things would be open and it would be quiet. Pah, I say to shopping centres in which the stores open at midday. We were remarkably close to the doors though, I've never been able to park that close.

This weekend we went to Manchester itself, taking the car to Broadlands and park & riding into town on the tram. If we'd have known Manchester United were playing we probably wouldn't have gone, or at least would have attempted to be out early. As it was, we arrived at about 1030 and got the tram out at about 1730, long day shopping. Admittedly we did stop for coffee twice and lunch at Wagamamas (with free pudding!!). Yum.

I think we've now got everything for everybody that we wanted to get. Checking my Remember the Milk lists I'm not sure about some of them, but Jane's the chief buyer here.

From now on things get a little busy. This coming weekend we're down in London. We're leaving as early as we can and staying at my parents' on Friday night, then off to Michelle's birthday bash on Saturday. Not sure what Sunday shall bring, as it all depends how Saturday night works out! The weekend after is free, then it's Christmas. We're then driving up to Elgin, starting on Boxing Day and staying over in a (really) cheap Travelodge room in Livingstone before continuing up on the 27th. I've got to be back at work for Friday the 2nd (grrrr - what's the point, I say?) so we'll be driving back down on the 1st. It's such a waste of a weekend really, as nothing's going to happen on that Friday anyhow.
Mood:: 'geeky' geeky
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posted by [personal profile] pmsumner at 11:14pm on 12/10/2008 under , ,
Mood:: 'curious' curious
location: Home
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posted by [personal profile] pmsumner at 09:27pm on 05/10/2008 under
We got up horrifically late, not entirely sure why as we were in bed early, both of us. Within an hour of getting up I cajoled Jane into eventually tidying up the ever-present pile of papers and stuff from Jane's previous days that had gathered in the back bedroom. We've gone from having several bags, boxes and files full of random paperwork into having a box of photos, a box of music, a box of half-used notepads and a box of schoolwork. Hurrah and yippee.

In moving things around in our bedroom recently we discovered a small patch of damp in the bedroom, just where the roof meets the walls. We called our landlord on Friday and she came round Saturday to look at it, and she thinks it might be a blocked gutter. Where we live, I wouldn't be surprised too much, there's lots of trees around. There's a few other little things that we probably should have brought up (back door panel, nail in the living room floor which I can't get to settle properly, intermittent and annoying boiler issue) but I thought that was enough to be getting on with for now.

I want to put in a new plug somewhere in our bedroom, as the reorganisation means that where things were is no longer suitable in some cases, and where things have to go now there is no power. I have looked into running an extension under carpets and things but the people who did the job did a damned good one and I don't want to be damaging carpets accidentally. Wonder whether it'd be worth getting a sparky in to do it?

We've got rid of the mattress - just outside for now as you'd be surprised how much space it takes up. We'll call the council and get them to pick it up, hopefully they still do their free large item removal... oh, yes they do. Sent a form online, let's see what happens!
Mood:: 'tired' tired
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posted by [personal profile] pmsumner at 10:05pm on 21/09/2008 under , ,
We've not done a huge amount, though I achieved lots this morning while Jane was in bed feeling icky and gross. I watched Finding Nemo first - you gotta have your priorities right! Then sorted out the mass of paperwork that was threatening to overtake the dining room table, washed up and cleaned the kitchen. Threw out some things which should have been thrown out ages back and put things in places they really shouldn't be but you know how it goes :)

This evening I have sorted out some money things, and made the decision to call Lloyds TSB (who are my current credit card provider) at some point during the week and ask them very nicely to reduce the interest rate on my card or I will switch the balance to another provider. The balance is high enough to be a significant loss of income for them (*cough*).

Yesterday was the bed shop encounter of course. Personally I'd like to go for either one of the Silentnight ones we saw in Bensons which were quite expensive or the divan+posturepedic mattress+posh headboard from "Discount Bed Warehouse" round the corner, but then again the frame in the other cheapybedwarehouse round the corner from both of those was nice but the salesman was a bit disinterested. Mmmm the Silentnight one was nice! I never realised how much of a variety there was in buying beds - it's mindboggling. The first decision (which nobody seems to understand why we don't know what we want) is divan or frame+mattress. I dunno? We're guessing at divans. Then the type of mattress - pocketsprings, foams, memoryfoams, non-pocketsprings, combinations of the above. Eh? I dunno!

I made Jane squee earlier by finding the interview with Milo Ventimiglio on the BBC Radio 1 Chris Moyles show :)

Oh, and I love the Nokia N73 + CoPilot. I'm not convinced the software is as good as the knockoff TomTom stuff I got but it's actually a lot more convenient. I was getting really miffed at not being able to text on the go - you got any idea how difficult it is to type using a tiny touchscreen keyboard while walking? Also - a phone I can use as a phone is like wow! Whoohoo!
Music:: Milo Ventimiglia Interview with Chris Moyles - April 2008
Mood:: 'relaxed' relaxed
location: CH3