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Friday, May 23, 2014

Weekend Extravaganza (Possibly Ever So Slightly UNSAFE For Work)

This is not safe for work.  You have been warned.


OK read on...













































So do I have anything more exciting than this planned for the weekend?


I will let you be the judge.

The main focus of my weekend is going to be studying lots, mostly JavaScript and catching up with stuff like washing, ironing, etc, but you don't really want to know that.

I was kind of hoping this book that I purshased would arrive in time to be able to get stuck into it, but I just noticed that the delivery estimate is 7th June, despite being from the UK.


507 pages should teach me JavaScript.  I am slowly learning it online too at Codecademy but need something else to back up the teachings.

Saturday night I shall watch the Champions League final and beaver through a large pile of ironing.

Sunday (or possibly Monday) I am going to Didcot.

Why, you may ask.  And you would be right to.  I heard it is a bit of a hole.

However I want to spend more time exploring the local area, so I used the random number generator to pick a train line out of Reading, and then used it again to pick a train station on said line and it came up with Didcot Parkway.

How exciting.  I will probably fanny around for a bit, have a beer and head back.

My JavaScript dream is to one day create a website that can select a random train station.  I think it would be quite a hit?  And of course sell advertising for train tickets, hotels, etc.  One of my ideas will make me rich one day!

Monday I might go to Reading Carnival.  I imagine it will be similar to Notting Hill Carnival.

I have a new roast beef  recipe and I might even attempt my own Yorkshire Puddings - I tend to be rather gash at cooking them.

Also I shall join up to 3nder.  Again probably not one to check at work if you have an over-zealous boss - it's similar to Tinder, the name should allude a little further.

If anyone has a spare vagina, a gram of coke and fancies a day out in Didcot, let me know.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

I Love Voting



I wasn’t going to do a blog post but I became so inspired when walking to the polling station this morning at 7am that I just had to.  By the way, why do they always situate polling stations in the roughest areas of town?  Do I sense a conspiracy theory?!

It is unlikely that you will need me to tell you whom I have voted for.  Neither am I going to make a strong recommendation of who I believe you should vote for, as I shall elaborate on later.

However I ask kindly if you would mind not voting for UKIP.

UKIP will not represent you in Brussels/Strasbourg, they have an exceptionally poor attendance record to the parliament and rarely vote on matters that concern us, the voters.  A vote for UKIP is a vote to not be represented.

Brussels is far more of a gravy train than our own parliament that so many complain about – I find it hugely contradictory that UKIP is the beneficiary of an anti-establishment vote when they do far less for the very considerable sums in wages and allowances that far outstrip what our MPs are paid.

Not to mention the negativity, fear and hatred that their politics is based on.

These elections are important.

I truly believe in the European Union – many problems are not confined within borders – many solutions can be found by working together for the common good.

Crime, immigration and environmental issues are all obvious examples where we need to work together.  Such items as energy security should be dealt with on a European level - not to mention the economic boosts that liberalising trade in services would do, and a currently-discussed US-EU trade deal.

You don’t need me to tell you though that the European Union gets involved in far too many areas of our lives, where we should have control, such as the European courts, and there are many areas where reform is needed - such as the Common Agricultrual Policy.

Reform of the European Union is what is necessary.  We don’t require either isolation or to blithely sign up to an ever-closer union.

Only the Conservatives offer to negotiate for reform of the European Union, only the Conservatives are offering a referendum in 2017 and only the Conservatives are worthy of my vote.

However I am sure there are valid reasons to vote for other parties, everyone has different priorities in life and expectations from those that govern them, and even if you vote Labour, you can do so in the knowledge that a vote for Labour in the European elections won't mean a repeat of their great recession they gave to the UK during 2007-2010 - only voting Labour in a general election will bring you the next huge recession.

We don't get the outcome of the European elections until Sunday, as that is when many countries vote, however the local election results will filter in overnight.  My local Tory was quite cute but I cannot remember her name, and of course there is no information online as to who the local candidates are.

The biggest shock of the day would be a Tory victory in the European Elections.  It just ain’t going to happen.  More likely than a Liberal Democrat victory of course, which is probably even less likely than a Roman Party victory (he has a level 2 boat license – why wouldn’t you vote for him?!).

I would accept a 22% share of the vote as reasonable – 25% would be amazing, more than Labour would be hilarious, less than 20% would be poor.  But the incumbent party should not panic at poor mid-term elections – even Tony Blair at his pomp used to get a kicking at local and European elections but would reverse this come the general election.

The recriminations will come for the Labour Party who as the main opposition should be looking to win both the European and local elections mid-term, and the Liberal Democrats who are about to get trounced – beaten by the Green Party, who I despise more than Labour.

Anyway my lunch is over.

Make the effort and vote.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Where Am I Going?



I keep having these “Where am I going with my career thoughts”.

 
And then I forget them and get on with plodding along.

Yesterday I was prodded into thinking again by some bullshit shenanigans over bonuses (changing the structure to one which will likely mean no bonuses, on 1st December but not telling us until 20th May – a whole 11 days before it is due to be paid).  Yeah, thanks, glad I worked so hard.

So if I write a blog about it then I will probably have thought about it properly, and channelled my anger into something productive and have an answer other than eat more gravy (I had over a pint last night).

I do not want to be a credit controller forever.  Earnings are fairly limited – a credit controller of 30 years’ experience is unlikely to earn more than me.  To be a manager you need to study an ICM qualification which I have no interest in.

Credit control can be a rather negative environment as customers tend not to want to pay – it is full of arguments and conflict – it must have an effect on my general levels of positivity and my willingness to have an argument.

Potentially I could get a job as a credit control supervisor/senior credit controller as a step up, without a direct qualification, which would be slightly higher paying – but the downside would be then having to commit to another 2-4 years of doing credit control, with also some added uncertainty.

Currently I have a very good manager, some really nice colleagues and can listen to music, no questions asked.  Too much work but I like it that way.  Having had jobs with no work, having worked for complete witches and had miserable music-free jobs, these aspects are very appealing.

However I do waste far too much time commuting.  And I am pissed off right now.

What I really want to do is get into web design/development which I am studying towards but I don’t have that much time to study.  From 630am until 645pm is spent getting ready for work, commuting and working.  And commuting again.  To study I either need to get up at 530am or study later – learning computer code is not exactly not of my to-do list at 7pm, tired and hungry after work.  Waking up at 530am is not exactly appealing most mornings.

One option is to get a job in Reading to cut out the commute.

There is also the London factor.  I might move to London next August/September – I keep talking about it and have done for, oooh, nearly 10 years now.

But if I do I would need a significant pay-rise, which is possible doing credit control in London – if I still want to do it.  I could get around £30,000.00 a year in London doing credit control which is enough of an increase in salary to pay for the increase in rent.

The other option would be to take a junior/trainee web development job in London but I would be lucky to get £20,000.00 and said jobs are not as easy as you might expect to find.  Plenty of jobs and loads of money if you are well-skilled – not many and little money if your skills are still at the beginning stage like mine are.  I could live on £20,000.00 in London but that would be it – rent, food, bills – no going out, no holidays, no clothes, etc.  Gosh that would be boring.

It would only be temporary though, for a year or two.

So I have two questions, what to do now with my career, and what to do in 18 months.

I am no closer to answering my questions!  But at least I know I have two questions.  I shall keep thinking.

I do need a plan.  And maybe a horse made out of money.


Monday, May 19, 2014

What Could Have Been



In my heart, I thought our name was on the cup.  In my head, I was expecting an absolute thrashing, 5 goals minimum.

The semi-final was also at Wembley – I enjoyed that day but it was just another game, albeit at Wembley.  I was just going through the motions – turn up, drink beer, win, go home.

This time was different.  This time was history – our first ever FA Cup Final with a qualification to our first ever European campaign already in the bag – not to mention a chance of getting revenge for Phil Brown’s sacking following our defeat to Arsenal several years ago, and to give the gift of another year without a trophy for those poor Arsenal fans, to the rest of the footballing community.

If you wouldn’t mind, I would like to list the less inspiring teams that have knocked Hull City AFC out of the FA Cup since I have supported them:

Notts County
Rotherham
Chester City
Lincoln City
Wrexham
Crewe Alexandra
Hednesford Town
Kettering Town
Oldham Athletic
Macclesfield
Cheltenham Town
Colchester United
Plymouth Argyle
Crawley Town
Barnsley

There were a couple of big teams too, like Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool and Aston Villa (well, biggish) but the vast majority are relative minnows.

The day started at the Big Chill House in King’s Cross, meeting my sister and a couple of our respective friends – a really cool place with an awesome roof terrace, shame about the lack of sunshine though.  On the bright side, I had mullet recognition as someone shouted “Pat Sharpe” at me.  Notably excellent and very friendly service too.

Next stop Wembley, and boy was I excited.  I was so nervous when I woke up that I had to walk to the shop within 5 minutes of waking up to get some beers, it had taken hours to get to sleep the night before.

Met my parents – my mum was shaking with nerves, also found my uncle, auntie, cousin and saw another mullet – I shouted “mullet” then realised he was rather hard looking, and the mullet wasn’t ironic in the slightest, clearly unchanged from 30 years, except a bit of balding on top.

The pre-game atmosphere was exceptional and yes I sung the national anthem, hand on heart.


How good was that for timing?!

My bets were on Arsenal to win 5-0 or 5-1, and Hull to sneak a 1-0 and the dream of 4-2.

Realistically the only chance of beating Arsenal was to catch them early, and hold on bravely.

So in the 3rd minute we scored, I had to look twice to make sure it was a goal, even as we were going crazy in celebration I was still not convinced but it was a clear goal – knocked in by one of our excellent central defenders, James Chester.  Can you name any other footballers with a first name of James?  A true rarity.

Roll on the 8th minute and we scored a second by our captain fantastic, Curtis Davies – a true Hull City legend after just one season, this guy gives so much effort that it is truly inspiring – Margaret Thatcher would be proud.  Why he is not in the England squad is beyond me.  Apart from the fact that he doesn’t play for a big club.

2-0.  Crazy.  Though we were 2-0 up against Man Utd earlier this season and lost.


Then in the 13th minute we came so close to scoring a 3rd.  Alex Bruce, the manager’s son had a header cleared off the line.

Arsenal then went into diving mode, falling over at every opportunity and were lucky to get a free kick, from which they scored.  It was a very good goal though.

The rest of the half, I vaguely remember, Arsenal were not particularly much better than us, there were few shots on target from either team and come the half-time beer, we were 2-1 ahead.  Perhaps the most memorable moment in the rest of the half was the lout next to me chanting “Steve Bruce”, somehow not falling over despite being horrendously drunk, for a good 10 minutes before the rest of us joined in/caved in.  Steve Bruce.  Steve Bruce.  Steve Bruce.  Steve Bruce.  Steve Bruce.  Steve Bruce.  And on.

That is our manager, by the way.  Steve Bruce.

Time for a beer – and the service at Wembley is notably quick.  Steve Bruce.

Arsenal slowly turned the screw as the second half went on, and showed their class.  However they couldn’t break down our defence, and I started to believe that maybe it would be our day.  One or two half-shouts for a penalty against us, which I’m surprised weren’t given with Arsenal being a big club – but certainty would not have been given to us, so it was fair.  Steve Bruce.  Steve Bruce.  Steve Bruce.

But then inevitability struck and Arsenal smuggled the ball into the net.  It was then just a matter of time until they got the winner and I was hoping that it would be over sooner rather than later.

Steve Bruce.   Steve Bruce.   Steve Bruce.   Steve Bruce.   Steve Bruce.   Steve Bruce.   Steve Bruce.   Steve Bruce.   Steve Bruce.   Steve Bruce.   Steve Bruce.   Steve Bruce.   Steve Bruce.   Steve Bruce.

Alas it went into extra time, Arsenal brought on Rosicky and Wiltshere – which is a sign of how far ahead of us they are when we had the likes of Boyd and Aluko to bring on - eventually Arsenal did get their 3rdgoal to go into the lead.

But with just a few minutes to go, a spot of kamikaze defending gave us a difficult chance, Aluko had passed the keeper but was almost next to the touchline – a cross/shot went agonisingly wide.  Steve Bruce.   Steve Bruce.   Steve Bruce.   Steve Bruce.

So close to an equaliser – so close to penalties.  Albeit with more English players than Arsenal we would have had no chance of winning a shoot-out.

I don’t begrudge Arsenal the win.

The team, to a man was absolutely fantastic, so much effort – Curtis Davies, our central defender was still running right to the end, to the point of even playing up front for a while.

The fans were amazing.  I have never known such support from the fans, not even in the play-off final, even straight after Arsenal’s equalizer and winning goal, we were straight back to singing.

I came out of Wembley and my first thoughts were “never been so proud to be from Hull”.

I am still smiling now.  I don’t mind losing – getting there was amazing, being 2-0 ahead was beyond amazing and the whole experience was just exceptional – one of those days I will be talking about when I have those metaphorical grand-children to talk to.

Silverware, we don’t care, follow Hull City, everywhere.

Steve Bruce.

Steve Bruce.
Steve Bruce.
Steve Bruce.
Steve Bruce.
Steve Bruce.
Steve Bruce.
Steve Bruce.
Steve Bruce.
Steve Bruce.
Steve Bruce.
Steve Bruce.
Steve Bruce.
Steve Bruce.
Steve Bruce.
Steve Bruce.
Steve Bruce.
Steve Bruce.
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Steve Bruce.
Steve Bruce.
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Steve Bruce.
Steve Bruce.
Steve Bruce.
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Steve Bruce.
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Steve Bruce.
Steve Bruce.
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Steve Bruce.
Steve Bruce.
Steve Bruce.
Steve Bruce.
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Steve Bruce.
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Steve Bruce.
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Steve Bruce.
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Steve Bruce.
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Steve Bruce.
Steve Bruce.
Steve Bruce.
Steve Bruce.
Steve Bruce.
Steve Bruce.
Steve Bruce.
Steve Bruce.
Steve Bruce.
Steve Bruce.
Steve Bruce.
Steve Bruce.


Saturday, May 17, 2014

My FA Cup History

I wish I had thought about doing this much further in advance, I could have put more research into it.

Every boy's dream is to watch his football team at Wembley in an FA Cup Final.

Being a Hull City fan, aged 8ish, circa 1988, this was an unlikely though not impossible idea - we were mid-table in Division 2 back then (ie the Championship now), it could happen one day maybe.

I couldn't go to the match, but the first I remember of the FA Cup and it's magic was being 2-0 up against the then all-mighty Liverpool at half-time.  Such a unexpected scoreline - in the end we lost 3-2 but that was my first taste of being a Hull City fan and playing a big club.

The next two years saw defeats to Newcastle and Notts County in the 3rd round, I cannot remember if I were at either game.  Around this time one was enchanted by the magical Paul Gascoigne (my Grandad never liked him - called him a pratt, if I recall correctly), I have memories of him scoring that goal, and then of that awful tackle.

Yes the FA Cup was magical to a child.

In 1992 we faced Chelsea in the 3rd round.  I was mascot.  Thanks Grandma!

I was hoping to find a picture or a video for you all, but alas not yet, I will in time, however I did manage to delay kick-off by not realising as a mascot that I had to go to the centre.

We lost 2-0.

Consequent years saw early round defeats to the likes of Rotherham, Chester City and Lincoln City.

By time we were in the bottom division, circa 1995, not many people were going,  A 5-1 hammering at home by the might Crewe Alexandra was bad enough.

But worse was to come.

Saturday 15th November 1997.  I remember it vividly.  Home against Hednesford of some non-league persuasion.  Match Of The Day were here to record it.

Yes we lost 2-0.

But the year after, we began our long slow march to world domination, by beating Salisbury and Luton Town (also coming from 9 points clear at the bottom of the league, seemingly doomed to the Conference but finished safe) - time for a trip to Aston Villa in the 3rd round of the FA Cup.

Yes Aston Villa.  A massive club, it was a dream back then to go play them.  I stayed at my friend James' house and we went clubbing that night, we went to see - Judge Jules.  Yeah.

Oh yeah we lost the game but it was nice to play a big club, even though I was sat in the home end.,

We lost 6-1 at home against Chelsea the next year.  Hmmm.  And the year after we lost 1-0, at home, in a replay, against...Kettering Town.  FML.

And whilst we are at it, lets record a few more ignominious defeats to:

Oldham
Macclesfield
Cheltenham
Colchester

It does become less inglorious after, culminating in defeat to, yes, Arsenal in the quarter-finals, a stage I hadn't realised had existed, in 2009.  We only lost 2-1 and a fucking dodgy goal at that.

Then we reverted to normal with two defeats in a row to Wigan, followed by an infamous defeat to the mighty Crawley Town.  Even last year we lost at home, 1-0, to Barnsley.  Barnsley.

So to find myself with a ticket to the FA Cup Final, Hull City AFC vs Arsenal, is quite a dream.

A dream I didn't dare to have.

For the semi-final at Wembley, I was walking there thinking, been there done that.

This is so different, this is history, this is the whole world watching.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Rantety Rant, Rantety Rant

Lights on, ready please.

Don't you just love it when someone that is supposed to be one of your closest friends lets you down?!

I'm not going to name names or details for every Tom, Dick & Harry to read, but it is going to cost me hundreds of pounds that I don’t have.

More important than that, it was something that I was really excited about, the highlight of my year.

I will probably still go by myself, despite the additional totally unaffordable cost of going by oneself, and endeavour to have an even better adventure but I am totally fucked off about being let down.

I kind of knew it would happen though.  In the back of my mind, I always kind of expect people to let me down, I do find it very hard to trust someone 100%.

The reason is totally ridiculous but it was not of my choosing or doing – I admit that I am a touch stubborn and proud and will not be forced into apologising when I am not in the wrong (honest I'm actually not on this occasion!).  There is plenty I could expand on but won't.

What is most galling though is the simple dissolution of what is supposed to be a close friendship.  Friendships mean a lot to me, but clearly not always equally reciprocated.

I have had major fallings out with some of my closest friends before, of which I was usually at least part-responsible but they were always repairable over time.

This time is permanent.  Sometimes you have to say enough is enough.  One can only put so much effort into a friendship to get it thrown back in one's face.  What is the point of a friendship where you are constantly treading on eggshells?

Exasperating but there you go.  I am totally __________________.

Anyway, rant over, I have a lot of friends - 520 according to Facebook though that does include Nina Kraviz (she added me) and she still hasn't accepted any of my invites to see me DJ - I've been to see her ffs, so annoying when you put the effort in and it isn't returned.  Most of said friends are exceptional delights – I might not see many of them as much as I would like but that's life, and life can be a tad lonely sometimes.

Time for some consolationary cheese.

And yeah, a pint of gravy.

Onwards and upwards, over and out.  I shall go get my chequebook and pen.