Tuesday, 30 January 2007


Today I recieved a cheque in the post for £100. This was for clicking on a link on the New Scientist's graduate jobs website. Huzzah! Last time I won a random competition, I was at Junior School. It was some road safety competition I'd entered at the library and a policeman turned up in the middle of a PE lesson to give me the prize (a road safety book). Unsuprisingly, a policeman turning up out of the blue and asking for me was a fairly scary experience. Getting money in the post is much better.
Had a bit of a play with Google Earth, decided to see if I could work out the locations of every house I've lived in and school I've attended from a satellite perspective. Did surprisingly well, got a bit easier when I discovered that I could turn the road names on.

There was a "you really should attend, but you don't have to" Fire Safety presentation at Mortimer House yesterday, asked about more discriminating smoke detectors, (reduce false alarms due to cooking). Also asked about slightly quieter alarms for the sake of my Asperger sound-sensitivity. Currently the 100db alarms in the corridors at Mortimer House makes my eyes water with pain and leaves me half blind. I'm a light sleeper anyway, trying to plan ahead for my next residence

Sunday, 28 January 2007

Didn't fancy Mark's suggested avatar makers so I looked and found a Lego avatar maker.

Saturday, 27 January 2007

Adrian just phoned up Salford Van hire for information on hiring a van for us moving. And guess what Adrian can only drive a 3.5 ton van and I can drive a 7.5 ton van. How cool am I?

Just to compare the sizes look at this: http://www.salfordvanhire.com/mevan.htm

Can you imagine me driving one of those????
It seven Metres long!

And all this just because I passed my test quickly and got my licence before the law changed.

Friday, 26 January 2007

1000th Post (apparently)

Other than being smug about the post number, I have several momentous events to give bring to your attention.

1) We've given our month's notice on our rented house. After this week, we'll no longer be contributing to other people's mortgages, but paying our own instead. Wooo!

2) Emma's clearing her office out. Being a teacher and a bit of a hoarder means that this is not only quite a task, but also quite a notable occasion. We're on two boxes of paper, and counting...

3) Sheffield Wednesday have made some money by selling players. It's been around seven years since we've got much money (i.e. >£1 million) for any players, and we've a record of letting players go for ridiculously cheap sums, so this is good (assuming the money is well spent).

Thursday, 25 January 2007

Okay, so I've pretty much done as much as I want to on the template for the moment, and got my avatar sorted as well.

If you would like to be from South Park, click here. If you would like to be a super-hero, click here, if you would like to be cartoony in a Japanese fashion, click here.
Hello. It's not going too badly in the life of Mark. I've applied for three jobs this week, when two is the target and I've just been asked to interview. It's only it's a pity it's tomorrow, as I think I've earned a casual Friday. Ah well. I guess my applications are going okay then, as that makes four interviews now in all.

It's an admin job with Lifeways, who have a website. Now I'll just need to pop over to traveline so's to work out how I'll get here for 11:00.

Wednesday, 24 January 2007

Adrian is easily amused

Have a read of the reviews.
I made a sort of joke adventure game once, which James used to host on his blog. I asked if he could dig it out for me, 'cos I wanted to show it to Monica, and here it is.

Friday, 19 January 2007

Football grounds updated

So with the City game and my recent(ish) visit to Coventry's new ground, my ground count is now up to 30. I appear to have miscounted last time, since 29 plus 2 doesn't usually equal 30. I probably counted Wembley twice. It is down there twice. I apologise to all who've been upset by this error.

EDIT: Have added Coventry's old ground. Make that 31 stadia.

EDIT 2: Have added three more grounds per Dad (QPR, Spurs & Arsenal). That brings it up to 34.

Wednesday games

Hillsborough (Sheff Wed)
Boothferry Park (Hull)
Wembley (Rumbelows cup final vs Man Utd)
The Dell (Southampton)
Pride Park (Derby)
City Ground (Nottingham Forest)
Highbury* (Arsenal)
Loftus Road* (QPR)
White Heart Lane* (Spurs)
Manor Ground* (Oxford United)
Goldstone Ground* (Brighton & Hove Albion)
Highfield Road* (Coventry)
Villa Park (Aston Villa)
Turf Moor (Burnley)
Craven Cottage (Fulham)
Fratton Park (Portsmouth)
Priestfield Stadium (Gillingham)
Edgeley Park (Stockport)
Boundary Park (Oldham)
Kenilworth Road (Luton)
Millenium Stadium (League One playoff final vs Hartlepool)
Madjedski Stadium (Reading)
KC Stadium (Hull)
Ricoh Arena (Coventry)
Eastlands (Manchester City)

- Reserves/Friendlies

Old Trafford (Man Utd) - for the reserve cup final last season
Broadfield Stadium (Crawley Town) - preseason friendly
Moss Rose (Macclesfield) - preseason friendly

Farnborough Town

Cherrywood Road (Farnborough Town)
Kingfield (Woking)


Oakwell (Barnsley vs Brighton)
Wembley (England vs Italy friendly)
Finnair Stadium (Jokerit vs TPS and HJK Helsinki vs FC Lahti)
Bramall Lane (Sheff Utd)
Llanelian Road (Colwyn Bay vs Bradford City)

*These are grounds that I've either no, or a vague recollection of visiting, and I'm taking Dad's word for it that I've been to a game there. I think this is fair enough: I started going to games when I was 11, and I didn't have much of a memory back then either.
Man City vs Owls

Cast your mind back, if you will, to Tuesday. Following on from a very enjoyable 1-1 draw at Hillsborough, the FA Cup 3rd round replay finally provided me with a decent excuse to go to Man City's ground. I've lived within five or so miles of City's stadium (either Maine Road (now rubble) or Eastlands) for the last four years. It's a nice ground, and certainly much more impressive than Hull's or Coventry's new grounds which are of a similar (slightly Meccano looking) era. Unfortunately it was barely half full. The full allocation of away tickets had been sold, but even £15 tickets couldn't attract the home crowd for a televised, Tuesday night game against a lower league side. The Owls fans observed "You got your ground from IKEA", and "This ground's too big for you".

Travelling to football matches by bike is to be recommended. I left straight from work and arrived well before kickoff - early enough to make use of the minimal cycle parking facilities available. A modern, all seater, 47,726 capacity stadium with parking for about 10 bikes. Even Reading have done better than that, and cyclists are a vastly more common sight in Manchester than in Berkshire.

I purchased my ticket with insufficient posting time, so needed to collect it from the ground. Unfortunately my ticket was travelling with the Wednesday fans in a coach from Sheffield, and I arrived well before it. The ticket office kindly offered to phone me when it arrived.

Now, with an hour and a half to kill, I set about the task of all away fans with time before a game: locating a decent pub and obtaining beer. At the first game, I'd got chatting with a pair City fans sitting at the wrong end of the ground (away tickets had sold out, so, providing you can keep quiet when your team score, sitting at the home end is a decent move), and was meeting up with them again for a beer. I found the pub we'd arranged to meet at, a dim little building looking fairly shut. This turned out to be due to electricity failure, so I found another pub, namely Mary D's, via a quick nosy at The B of the Bang. Good pub; decent atmosphere while still being able to get to the bar and hold a conversation, and a mix of home and away support.
While waiting for Rob and Anthony (the aforementioned City fans) and my phone call from the ticket office, I got texts from both Pete & Rosy asking if I was up for a pint (beer is apparently like buses...). After a quick beer with Rob and Anthony (who arrived not long before kickoff), it was off to the match.

Possibly the second worst time* to phone someone would be when they're about to join a large boisterous queue of football supporters singing rude songs (in this case about Sheffield United). With a minimum of shouting, Mark and myself agreed to talk another time.
Four pounds for a burger. Seriously. Four pounds for a burger. It might be Aberdeen Angus steak, but unless it's also gold-plated, that's overpriced.

The match: you can read the report here if you're interested. Good game. Man City look vastly better with Joey Barton in the team, and were the better side, though not by too much. It could well have gone to extra time if we were able to shoot straight. Dissapointingly, all the atmosphere was generated by the away fans. There were a few younger City fans waving large inflatable bananas for some reason. Chants of "You're just a small town in Stockport" and "You're just a town full of smackheads" finally provoked a few of the sheepshagging chants I've only previously heard aimed at Derby.
A nice touch was the singing of "If you don't let one in then you're a Blade" at Nicky Weaver. Assuming you know that he's City's goalkeeper, that he supports Sheffield Wednesday, and that the Blades are Sheffield United, it's quite amusing.

Getting home is where the bike comes into it's own. Road closed by the cops? Not to cyclists. Huge queue of traffic to exit the stadium? Go round. Smug? Me? Never.

*For anyone wondering what the worst time to phone someone would be, this was achieved by Ruth, who phoned me 30 seconds after the final whistle of the League One playoff final a couple of seasons ago. We'd just won, so it was a tad noisy.

Wednesday, 17 January 2007

Oh b*llocks.

I've lost my blog template.

It happened like this: Blogger have changed the way that their blog templates work, and added a load of new features that you can only use if you "upgrade" to one of their ready-made templates, like this one, which I'll be modifying presently.

You can, experimentally, "upgrade" your template, which is okay, because they save a copy of your old code and you can switch back. This I know because I did it several times during the day trying to work out if I could cheat somehow and use the new features without rewriting the entire blog.

Apparently I pushed the wrong button this time, because now I'm stuck. Oh dear. I quickly got the cached version of the dob-log from Google, and e-mailed it to myself so that I can rewrite it more easily.

So there you are.
I bought a mancala set before Christmas, and heave been trying to work out what to do with it - the instructions are rubbish. Hopefully this will help.
Oware is an abstract strategy game and the mancala game most widely considered suitable for serious adult competition. Oware is the national game of Ghana[.]

Monday, 15 January 2007

I've been categorizing some of my posts. It's quite good I think. Once I've finished I'll hopefully be able to find all my things more easily, especially holidays, and long entries about religion that no-one wants to read.

And I think I'd like an avatar for all my future post entries. It's daft. I'm not quite sure how to do it easily.

Saturday, 13 January 2007

At last I'm done with the reorganisation and post-Christmas offer hunting. It took me over a week to assemble my furniture and organise all the the stuff I brought back from Camberley. I once again have a working printer and CD/DVD writer. My rocks are now nicely arranged in my display cupboard and so won't need dusting nearly as often, phew. On a related note, I think I may ask or pay for help with my next house move, but I'm hoping I can find somewhere decent.

I've got a decent calendar, with enough space to put all my appointments on. I've started the "Job centre helps me find work" process, and I feel like I can make a day trip to somewhere nice. I'm hoping to get into the habit of going swimming twice a week, and making a real start on a project, still haven't decided exactly what, autobiography, make another attempt to learn C++, finish the pin-art.

I've been asked to help co-plan a house group meeting based on John 6 v25-71 "Bread of Life" and "Many Disciples Desert Jesus", and went to a "How to plan a house group meeting" on Thursday. Belmont has decided to give the house groups the chance to try to write their own house group notes, rather than just providing them. It will be interesting to do some intensive Bible study for other people and I hope I can provide some fresh insights.

Wednesday, 10 January 2007

I'm getting old! I need glasses for reading now! I've bought them, they are black. My mum is not really happy about the colour, "always black, you are all black, black hair, black eyes, dark skin and now black glasses! Why can't you be like those nice girls and trie some colours like red, purple, just not black!" This is my mum.
My application for the student grant has been approved. No money yet.
Coming back has been a bit of a shock after 3 weeks in Italy, I need to get back to the routine...and english food. Today I made bread, I need to find the right amount of salt to use, it 's always either too salty or too insipid, this time is insipid!
I've started revising Fascism and writing my essay. I'm a bit worried because I'm not panicking about the exams. Maybe I'm really getting old.
I talked with my parents tonight, my mum bought 2 jumpers for when she comes to England. My dad is going to buy salami for when he comes to England.
I've phoned my friend, Marghe the nun, she is really happy about my Christmas present. I bought her the hot water bottle cover in the shape of Shawn(Sorry, I don't know how to write Shawn) the sheep. She loved it! We went to visit her at Christmas and when I gave her the sheep, she screamed of joy! She said that when she went into the cloister all the nuns were really happy about Shawn and that the Mother Superior told her not to waste too much time with it. She didn't understand how she could waste time on a sheep, but now that she started talking to her and putting her in a different pose every morning she is a bit worried! She said is really relaxing for her to play with Shawn, and that it's a great company!
Now I'm going to watch an episode of King of the Hill, to relax. I like Mr Hank Hill.

Sunday, 7 January 2007

This is the lovely princess I made with the lovely DVD Neil got me for Christmas because he such a lovely person!
Thank you Neil, I also made my castle and my royal bedroom!! It's fun and it's really relaxing!!!
I think I might have other tries with the castle ( maybe I will add a fountain or two) and witn the bedroom.

Tuesday, 2 January 2007

How exciting: