Sunday, 30 June 2013

Plague house

Well this weekend has been a bit of a write off due to us being a plague house. Sam and Toni have a nasty lurgy and I have a variant of it too. Toni and I have missed out on two night outs as a result. Nobody was to blame but it was a shame as we were really looking forward to going out and having a laugh *grumble grumble*

Today we had to take Jodie to IKEA to get a load of bits for her new flat. We didn't want to let her down so dosed ourselves up with Lemsip and drugs and headed out to Lakeside. It was hot, too hot. I was really struggling as we mooched around IKEA. This was a damn shame as I love IKEA although it did mean that we saved a fortune as I would have wanted to buy loads of stuff if I'd been more with it LMFAO. We did manage to pick up a few bits that we wanted and Jodie had a major success in finding all the furniture that she was after.

I was completely wiped out by the time we got home and felt like a complete zombie....... Unclean Unclean!

Saturday, 29 June 2013

Disney Day to make us feel better

Toni was still suffering from the lurgy, Sam was coming down with it and I was not 100% so all plans were put on hold and today officially became Disney Day with a random scattering of movies from over the years.

Bacon rolls kicked things off and the viewing began......

The Black Cauldron
The film centers around the evil Horned King who hopes to secure the magical Black Cauldron and rule the world with its aid. He is opposed by the youths Taran and Princess Eilonwy, the bard Fflewddur Fflam, and a wild creature named Gurgi. Released in 1985 this was the 25th of Walt Disney's Animated Classics. A less well known film but an enjoyable yarn with a notable performance by John Hurt.

Freaky Friday
A willful, disorganized teenage girl, Annabelle Andrews, awakens one Friday morning to find herself in the body of her mother, with whom she argued the previous night. Released in 1976 and starring Jodie Foster and Barbara Harris (rather than the the 2003 remake with Jamie Lee Curtis and Lindsay Lohan) this was a trip down memory lane for me. This was the film that started me down the path of being a Jodie Foster fan (followed by Candleshoe in 1977) although it was actually Barbara Harris as Mrs. Andrews that I was more enamoured with at the time of seeing this LOL

Robin Hood
The film is narrated by the rooster Alan-a-Dale, who explains that Robin Hood and Little John live in Sherwood Forest, robbing from the rich and giving to the poor townsfolk of Nottingham. The Sheriff of Nottingham and his posse often try to catch the two but fail every time. Meanwhile, Prince John and his assistant Sir Hiss, arrive in Nottingham. Sir Hiss hypnotised Prince John's brother King Richard to go off on the Crusades, allowing Prince John to take the throne. Unfortunately, the prince is greedy and immature, even sucking his thumb whenever his mother is mentioned. Robin and Little John rob Prince John by disguising themselves as fortune tellers, prompting the prince to put a bounty on their heads and makes the Sheriff his personal tax collector. Released in 1973 this was the 21st of Walt Disney's Animated Classics.

The Aristocats
Set in Paris at the turn of the last century, Madame Adelaide Bonfamille, a millionairess with a special love for her cats, Duchess and her kittens, Berloiz, Marie and Toulouse, plans to leave her entire estate to them and then, after their deaths, the estate transfers to the Butler, Edgar who decides that he cannot wait for the cats to live out their lives and that they must go so he can inherit immediately. Luckily Duchess and the kittens meet up with a suave alley-cat named Thomas O’Malley and two very English geese, Abigail and Amelia Gabble who together help the cats return to Paris. Once in Paris, Thomas makes a stopover in his ‘pad’ where his friend Scat-Cat and the Alley-gang are jamming the night away. Before they can safely return to the house though, they are going to need to get rid of Edgar. Here, they enlist the help of Roquefort the mouse, Frou-Frou the horse and Scat-Cat’s entire gang for a final showdown where either the cats or Edgar will see themselves off for an extended vacation in Timbuktu. Released in 1970 this was the 20th of Walt Disney's Animated Classics.

Monster's Inc
A city of monsters with no humans called Monstropolis centers around the city's power company, Monsters, Inc. The lovable, confident, tough, furry blue behemoth-like giant monster named James P. Sullivan (better known as Sulley) and his wisecracking best friend, short, green cyclops monster Mike Wazowski, discover what happens when the real world interacts with theirs in the form of a 2-year-old baby girl dubbed "Boo," who accidentally sneaks into the monster world with Sulley one night. And now it's up to Sulley and Mike to send Boo back in her door before anybody finds out, especially two evil villains such as Sulley's main rival as a scarer, chameleon-like Randall (a monster that Boo is very afraid of), who possesses the ability to change the color of his skin, and Mike and Sulley's boss Mr. Waternoose, the chairman and chief executive officer of Monsters, Inc.

Disney movies are great when you are feeling under the weather. No matter how dark some of them there are always funny bits and a happy ending for that feel good factor!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Friday, 28 June 2013

The lurgy strikes

Woke up this morning and Toni was really unwell. Fortunately for her she had a day off anyway so could at least rest. I plodded off to work and started to deteriorate as h day went on. By the afternoon I was fighting off a migraine. Drugs and a couple of pints of water managed to keep it at bay thankfully.

Got home and I really wasn't in the mood for cooking so we resorted to kebabs (for Sam and I) and Greek salad and chips for Toni.

Ice Age and Ice Age 2 were our viewing choices for the night although I slept through most of them. Ended the night with a max strength Lemsip as I'd really started going downhill :o(

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Thursday, 27 June 2013

Powerglove, after work drinks, curry and unplumbing

I have just discovered a band called Powerglove. They are an American instrumental-only power metal band. They are known to play metal cover versions of classic video game themes. The band is named after the Power Glove, a NES controller accessory:

They earned a warm place in my heart after I heard this song:

If you are a bit of a video game geek and like some metal music then I would strongly recommend checking out Powerglove:

After work today a bunch of us went out for drinks with a view to networking with a neighbouring team. Said team didn't actually turn up although a few other loosely related people did. The plan didn't exactly go well but at least we enjoyed ourselves.

I then rushed home to meet everyone in Rishta for some Indian food. It was a bit weird arriving after everyone else had finished and it's not something I want to repeat LOL. Food was good though.

Final thing for the day was popping over (very late) to Woolwich to unplumb Jodie's washing machine for her as she is moving over the weekend to a new property in Deptford. Thankfully my job was easy which was just as well as I was knackered and would have been really grumpy if it had been a major operation.

Absolutely shattered we headed home and dosed up Toni with Lemsip as she is fighting the lurgs at the moment before we headed to bed for much needed sleep.

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Last.FM listening post

Here's last week's top picks music lovers!

Top weekly tracks:

Top weekly artists:

Overall top tracks:

Overall top artists:

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Sad day at work and Aaron's disasterous can opening attempts

It was a sad day at work today. It was announced that Matt is leaving. This was NOT good news. Matt is a splendid chap who injects life into the team and will be sorely missed. It's a bit of a disaster and there will be a massive big hole to fill (that's assuming that the powers that be accept the business justification to actually hire someone else to replace him). A great big :o(

I was almost home when I got a call from Sam saying that Aaron was being taken to A&E by Toni. I got to the drive just as Toni was pulling out so I jumped in and accompanied them to A&E. There is a funny story to this. Aaron was doing the cooking tonight and he accidentally brutally tried to chop his hand off while opening a tin. This is the real story though.... He went to open a tin of tomatoes (the type with a ring pull) and the ring pull broke off and the time didn't open. He then had a tin opener fail and still couldn't access the contents of the tin.In what can only be described as a Baldrick level cunning plan he then decided to try and use a very sharp knife that we use for cutting up meat to try and gain entry to the tin. One slip later and he had made a nice slice across his hand! DOH!

Thankfully we weren't at A&E for long. The injury wasn't as bad as it had seemed and after a precautionary x-ray he was cleaned up and glued back together. Much to his disgust this was also accompanied by a tetanus jab. Thankfully it was more his ego and pride that was damaged rather than his body and there was no need for painkillers or anything. There was a lot of blood but this is is the size of the damage after everything was sorted:

Monday, 24 June 2013

Last day off, Monster Hunter, cute hearts, True Blood and NHL time

Sadly today was the last of the days off. We were in no rush to get up and do anything today. So we didn't. We took things nice and easy. When we did finally get up Toni set about doing lots of artsy sewing stuff and I engaged in a spot of Monster Hunter Freedom Unite. It's slowly but surely for my questing but I've been getting there slowly. Not a lot for me to be able to show from my exploits so instead I'll share the cute little hearts that Toni has been making:

Iron Man 3 was watched for the second time so that Sam and Aaron could see it. It's just as good the second time around. Seriously, if you like the Marvel films then you MUST see Iron Man 3. 

Next up was True Blood, Series 6 Episode 2. The series seems to be improving once again despite veering off into some weird territory. Not sure how many more series they can keep it going for but I hope we don't end on six. I'm running out of good TV shows to watch with lots being between series, naturally ending or getting cancelled!  

The day finished up with another late one as we stayed up to watch Game 6 of the Boston Bruins v Chicago Blackhawks Stanley Cup Finals. Chicago headed into this one with a 3 - 2 lead so it was up to Boston to tie things up or Chicago would walk away with the Stanley Cup! I had everything crossed that Boston would be able to feed off the crowd for this game as they were on home ice!

It was a frantic first period with Boston dominating. They went 1 - 0 up after 07:10 and were on fire after that. It was quite a brutal period with Chicago's Sharp taking a puck to the face and Boston's Jagr back in the dressing room. At the end of the first Boston Bruins were leading 1 - 0.

The Bruins seemed to have lost some of their oomph at the start of the second and had a really messy power play. To add insult to injury Chicago had a breakaway chance and tied things up 1 - 1. It was end to end stuff after that with both teams killing off power plays. Shot count was Boston 18 and Chicago 15 with a 1 - 1 scoreline at the end of the second. Everything to play for in the third period with us praying that it didn't go to overtime!

Ten minutes into the third and it was still 1 - 1 with both teams creating chances but failing to score. With 12:11 gone the Bruins capitalised on a scramble in front of the net to take a 2 - 1 lead. Both teams upped the ante after that with things starting to get a little desperate. 05:39 left and it was knuckle biting time as Chicago went on the power play. With 01:16 left and the netminder pulled the Blackhawks tied the game up 2 - 2. at 00:58 Blackhawks score again to make it 3 - 2. Two goals in 17 seconds and Chicago were less than a minute away from winning the Stanley Cup. Bruins called a time out at this point. Sadly despite pulling the goalie the Bruins just couldn't get the job done.

The Blackhawks won the game 3 - 2 and became Stanley Cup Champions winning the series 4 - 2.

.....and tomorrow it's back to work again. BOO HISS!

Sunday, 23 June 2013

Late start, drains, Coffee Town, triffid penis plant, Iron Man 3, Watchcmen & Green Lantern

We got up at 12:30 today, and why not LOL. I'll need to break out of this routine soon if I am going to get back to normal ready for work on Tuesday! The plan will have to be to try and get up at a reasonable time tomorrow. That's the plan anyway, we'll see how we do with that tomorrow *hehe*

Had a bit of a drains issue this morning. Toni had a shower and noticed that the water was draining out fast enough and was causing a mini flood in the bathroom. Turns out we have a stupid drainage system in our shower. It's stupid because you can't actually get access to the full waste pipe without some major deconstruction so it's impossible to try and stick anything down it if there's a blockage. I resorted to using a combination of 1 part baking powder to 2 parts white vinegar for an impressive bit of bubbling. Two kettles of hot water later and things seemed to be flowing better. Hopefully it will last!

Breakfast was consumed at a respectable 15:00 as we couldn't be bothered to forage around for anything in the house. A large omelette for Toni and a Burger Tall Town for me hit the spot.

Once we had returned home Toni noticed that our back garden has been invaded. We have a triffid style penis plant lurking being a large bush! Or something like that!

A nice cup off tea and feet up and it was time to watch Iron Man 3. It's a lot darker than the first two films but still classic Iron Man nonetheless with some humour lurking in unexpected places. Fantastic film, really, really good!

So coming up soon we have Thor: The Dark World, Captain America: The Winter Soldier not to mention Avengers 2. To top it all off I have just found out that there are plans for Iron Man 4 and 5 as well as Avengers 3. Marvel are really on a roll now. Oh, and The Wolverine is out soon too! Geek heaven! Gah and I forgot Amazing Spider-Man 2 and Guardians Of The Galaxy! Not wanting to miss out on the DC action we are planning on going to see the latest Superman reboot Man Of Steel soon. There is also the upcoming Justice League film to look forward to not to mention rumours of Wonder Woman, a Green Lantern reboot, The Flash, Aquaman and Suicide Squad too. Plenty there to keep the DC fan happy, let's hope they all get the green light.

Being on a bit of a comic book roll I decided to drag out Watchmen next. It's quite weird being reminded of a time when the US/Soviet nuclear war threat was a genuine concern for the world. That stuff seems like such a long time ago now. Watchmen is a fantastic film though and great adaption of the comics. Speaking of which, I'll have to dig out my copy and read it again!

...and so we rolled on. We finished our day with a lovely prawn curry and another comic book related film.

Green Lantern was our final destination. The boys had returned by this point and Sam was totally disgusted that I wanted to watch it but we did anyway. I might be going against popular opinion here but I actually like this film. It could have been a lot worse but could also have been much better. Perhaps they can rectify things if the rumoured reboot actually happens.

Saturday, 22 June 2013

Empty house, fun, Nando's, Star Trek 3D hell and ice hockey

Today we had the novelty of an empty house. It doesn't happen very often. Gemima was at her dad's and Sam and Aaron were staying at Jamie's. The house was very quiet. Don't get me wrong, we love living with everyone but from time to time it is just nice for it just to be Toni and I.

We took full advantage of the empty house and I will spare you all the details but a good time was had!

A decision was made that we should go out as we had some time to ourselves. Taking advantage of some Odeon points that I had amassed we booked seats to see Star Trek: Into Darkness. This essentially worked out as a two for one deal which was great. First stop was Nando's for a chicken dinner and then we stocked up on popcorn and chocolate ready or the main feature.

The experience was great, and not so great. Loved the film, great new vision of the Khan legacy and it was a great sci-fi epic. The way that all the actors have managed to closely match their styles to the legendary characters that they portray from Star Trek: The Original Series is fantastic. So now for my grumble.... Yup it's that old 3D bugbear. I just don't really like it and I think it was really badly used in this film. This was the last showing so we had no choice but to see it in 3D but I'd have much preferred the 2D version. As with other films, like Avatar, the fast paced action scenes just do not lend themselves to 3D. Some of the other 3D shots and effects were a bit naff really. That said, the film was so good that the 3D stuff didn't ruin it for me. If you like Star Trek and you enjoy 3D movies then go and see it in 3D. If you are less keen on the 3D then go and see the 2D version. Either way it is a fantastic movie and a big high for the Star Trek franchise. Now JJ Abrams, please don't go fucking up Star Wars!

We had seen the 22:50 showing of the film and came out of the cinema at 01:20. This gave us just enough time to race home and watch the Game 5 of the Boston Bruin v Chicago Blackhawks Stanley Cup Finals. This one started off with the series tied 2 - 2. Sadly Boston seemed to be off of their game for this one and struggled to keep up with a very determined Chicago. Going into the period it was 2 - 0 to Chicago and a glimmer of hope came when the Bruins made it 2 - 1. Sadly they couldn't get the equaliser and then Chicago added to insult to injury with an empty net goal in the last 15 seconds. Blackhawks won 3 - 1 and now lead the series 3 - 2. It's do or die for Boston on Monday night! They do have home ice advantage so fingers crossed they can tie things up again and take the final to game 7.

Friday, 21 June 2013

No early start (fail), taking it easy, extra birthday present and Django Unchained

Day two of being on holiday and there had been no plan to get up early. That all went wrong though as Toni had to get up to help Gemima prepare some food tech stuff and drop her at school. When she got back Aaron had failed to get up on time so she ended up giving him a lift to college as well. Oh well LOL.

After that though we did  put our feet up and take it easy. We chilled out for most of the day. It's nice to do this and not be rushing around all over the place. It was much needed.

Toni's other birthday present arrived today. It was a day late but she was delighted. One clear purple Gameboy Colour and a copy of Tetris:

Later on in the day Jade came over to make Toni a birthday dinner. The original plan had been to do some pork belly but sadly there was an issue with the meat so it was time to improvise. Jade and Sam concocted a very tasty egg fried rice, spicy mince and salad. All this was washed down watching Django Unchained. Jade had been trying to get us to watch this for ages. We weren't disappointed. I think this has to be one of my favourite Tarantino films now.

Thursday, 20 June 2013

Birthday presents and an unemployed Sam

Toni and I were on holiday today so made the most of not having to get up early or having to do anything. Jame took us out to Ziyafet for lunch as a birthday treat for Toni. It was good to spend a little bit of time with him.

Once all the clan had returned from school it was time to give Toni her birthday presents.
Gemima made her this lovely ring:

....and bought this pretty paperweight:

The birthday haul continued with a Dr Who/Star Wars mash-up t-shirt

...and finally came another Myth & Magic piece for Toni's collection, this time it was the Gemini Twins

There is still one present to come but sadly it hadn't arrived in time so that will be a treat for later! :)

In other news today Sam had his final day at college. He has passed his course with flying colours and has been signed off of college so is now officially unemployed! He's done really well on this course though and it's been great to see him taking a pride in what he has done. Next stop, sign on for JSA and start job hunting. Hopefully it won't be too long before he starts getting some interviews!

Happy Birthday Toni!

Happy Birthday to my beautiful sexy wife!

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Loooong day!

It was a LONG day today, a very long day! Due to upcoming holiday I had lots of things to clear off of my queue and handover.

The plan had been to leave early bit sadly this all went tits up as I ended up staying almost an hour longer than anticipated. A lot of this was frustrating as I was going through the pain of a grandmother and a basket of eggs! Some people make the simplest of tasks very difficult!

When I finally got home Sam dishes up steak, chips and salad and it was time to relax with Warehouse 13. There's a nice little angle building up with this episode that I look forward to seeing unfold over the next few weeks.

After food and telly I logged in to the office and did another 3 hours of work! Yes I probably am insane but I had some thoughts on a new spreadsheet for our Agule sprint process that I didn't want to leave until Tuesday in case I forgot what they were. It was time well spent though and I'm pleased with the results. On top of this I managed to do a fast turn around for one of our US support consultants so she was delighted!

Toni also had a very long day and ended up doing an additional an extra 7 hours! Makes my 4 look pathetic LMFAO!

By the time we were done it was time for Game 4 of the Boston Bruins v Chicago Blackhawks series of the Stanley Cup Finals. Boston came into this game leading the series 2 - 1.

Blackhawks came out all guns blazing and took a 1 - 0 lead with a short handed goal. Fortunately Boston tied it up and ended the first period 1 - 1.

Boston were on fire at the start of the second period. Despite this burst of energy they were left trailing 1 - 3 within ten minutes. Five minutes later and Boston had made it 2 - 3. Two minutes later and Chicago had a nifty touch and it was a 2 - 4 game. Less than three minutes to go in the period and Boston reduced the deficit to 3 - 4 and that's how the second period ended.

Boston once again came out meaning business and tied the game 4 - 4 in less than three minutes. A slew of penalty calls resulted in Chicago making it 5 - 4 while playing 4 on 3. An amazing snapshot 55 seconds later from Boston and it was 5 - 5! The third period ended 5 - 5 and so it was in to that bloody overtime again! Not what I wanted as I was knackered AAARGGHH! Sadly it only took Chicago ten minutes to get the overtime winner to end the game 6 - 5. The series is now tied 2 - 2. See you in Chicago for Game 5 on Saturday night!

Just for shits and giggles here's a couple of things that made me smile today:

...and that's me officially on holiday with three days off, Thursday, Friday and Monday! I really can't wait!

Last.FM listening post

Here's last week's top picks music lovers!

Top weekly tracks:

Top weekly artists:

Overall top tracks:

Overall top artists:

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Stanley My Work Pal by Stuart Groves (aka Jack Crack)

Anybody remember that Toni and I were involved in the shooting of a music video a while back? Well the product is now finished and available for your viewing pleasure. Please be warned it is not for the feint hearted and has a grim theme.

So here it is: Stanley My Work Pal by Stuart Groves (aka Jack Crack)

Totally amazed with the way this came out. It has been a complete honour and pleasure to have been involved!

Monday, 17 June 2013

Excellent little sign and meeting hell

There's a cute little sandwich bar near The Gherkin that has a chalk board outside. It usually has witty little comments on it usually verging on the rude side.

Here's today's gem:

That was the highlight of my day! The rest of it was soebt in meetings. Far too many meetings as the boss was over from Vancouver so he added lots of meetings on top of my already scheduled ones! Fortunately he doesn't come over very much! LOL

I tried to stay up to watch the Boston Bruins v Chicago Blackhawks game but could only say awake for the first two periods! On the plus side it turned out they won the game 2 - 0 to take the series to 2 - 1.

Sunday, 16 June 2013

Father's Day and hair colours!

I'll start off this entry by wishing my dad a Happy Father's Day! Had brief chat with him earlier and my card arrived safe and sound.

Today was a lazy day for me. Sam made a lovely fried breakfast to kickstart things. The whole Father's Day concept is a little weird in my min at the money what with me presenting more female than male these days although I don't think Sophie or Sam would ever call me mum LOL

I had a lovely card, some pretty cool Jack Daniels cuff links (which I'll be displaying in a cabinet) and an amazing new bag.

The cufflinks:

This bag is amazing! It's huge so fits everything I need in it plus loads of room for more and is very steampunk!

It's been a great day doing nothing at all!

Roast pork dinner was complemented with Avengers Assemble and then I bleached Toni's hair and added a turquoise section to it. It looks fabulous, just like this!

Saturday, 15 June 2013

Taking it easy, Sophie's new tattoo and more overtime hockey

Didn't do much today. Taking it easy as instructed and my back feels all the much better for it. Just as well really as I didn't want to be spending all my time doing nothing (although it is OK every now and again).

I did manage to have some good long sessions playing Castlevania: Dracula X Chronicles though and I am still slowly progressing.

Sophie sent me a message with a picture of her new tattoo (I was very touched)

As part of taking it easy we watched Pirates Of The Caribbean: On Stranger Tides along with Iron Man 1 and 2. Great films to put your feet up to! Problem was we want to either watch Iron Man 3 (which isn't out on DVD yet) or Avengers Assemble but sadly there wasn't enough time as hockey time was rapidly approaching.

We finished off with one episode of South Park before engaging in game two of the Boston Bruins v Chicago Blackhawks Stanley Cup Finals series. It was another nail biter that's for sure and I was hoping Chicago wouldn't take the series to 2 - 0 ! It was quite a cagey game with both teams looking like they could have racked up a large score but the netminders kept it close. As it was the game 1 - 1 at the end of the third period and we were overtime bound. I prayed that this wasn't going to be a multiple overtime job like Thursday night had been. Fortunately the hockey gods were smiling on me and Boston took the overtime win at 13:48 in the first overtime and so tied the series 1 - 1. We'll be doing it all again on Monday night when the Bruins have home ice advantage!

Friday, 14 June 2013

Bad backs and effing schools!

Back was bad again today so I ended up working from home. Managed to get my headset working which allowed me to connect to my work phone so I no longer have to use my mobile or the house phone for work calls when I am at home. This was a serious result and will stop me incurring unnecessary expenses. Had to take some time out to visit the GP. It's a muscular problem so I've just been given some Brufen to take the edge of things and have to take it easy over the weekend.

A while back Gemima was going to go on a school trip and had been told if she could bring in a cheque by a certain date that she could go. This she did but was later told that she couldn't go as she was too late. Annoyingly the school have still not returned the cheque. On the plus side they haven't cashed it but they should return a payment like that as a matter of course.

Back in May she brought home a letter saying that a trip had been organised to Thorpe Park as a reward for good attendance and punctuality. We signed the paperwork and she handed in her money the next day. This week she missed a couple of days of school due to not being very well and the school was notified. At the end of the day today she arrived home looking very distraught. It turned out that a large group of girls at the school had been called out and informed that they would not be going on the trip due to attendance. Poor girl was in tears. She hadn't been sent home with the money returned either. She informed us that one of the other girls had only missed one day recently and that was because she had been at a funeral.

Toni phoned the school and asked for a teacher to call her back. Strangely enough nobody did! Needless to say we were all livid. It seems we weren't the only ones outraged at what had happened as the following text message was received by Toni and I:

So it looks like a complete about face from the school but a pretty crap way to deliver the message! Hopefully they won't make any more cock ups like this in future! I expect the school reception area was full of irate parents and tearful children as soon as school ended, and rightly so! Just wait have to wait for the return of the cheque from the other trip now, I won't hold my breath!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Thursday, 13 June 2013


So today was a day of being absolutely knackered! Coffee was consumed, LOTS of coffee!

Made the mistake of staying up to watch the first of the Boston Bruins v Chicago Blackhawks Stanley Cup Final games last night. We bailed out at a ridiculous hour at the end of the third period with the game tied 3 - 3 (Boston coughed up a 3 - 1 advantage). We decided we couldn't keep running for overtime. Just as well we didn't try as the game actually went to triple overtime. I have no idea what time it all finished but the sad news is that Chicago grabbed the overtime winner and so now lead the series 1 - 0. Boo!

Fortunately work was relatively stress free or I think I'd have probably lost the plot with me being so tired. This wasn't the case though and all was good.

Dinner was late but well worth the wait as Gemima and Sam made a lasagne, completely from scratch using more gluten free pasta that they had made. Oh my word, it was absolutely delicious.

All full up the rest of the evening was spent chilling out and struggling to stay awake! After much frustration on being stick at a certain point in Castlevania: Dracula X Chronicles I finally managed to crack it thanks to a YouTube clip. There were no cheats or anything it was just that I had been making it all much harder than it really needed to be!

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Last.FM listening post

Here's last week's top picks music lovers!

Top weekly tracks:

Top weekly artists:

Overall top tracks:

Overall top artists:

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

PS4 Revealed by Sony at E3 2013, guess what I am saving up for!

It's time for another technology mention today but this time it was Sony's reveal of the PS4 at E3 2013. I'm not going to get into the XB1 v PS4 debate. I like the PlayStation line and that's what I'll be sticking with. Earlier this year I wasn't really that bothered about all of this stuff but now gamer girl is back I'm suddenly getting all excited again! It's all priced at a more than reasonable £349 too!

So this is what it looks like:

It all looks like a pretty nifty bit of kit that Sony have dreamed up for the PS4. The hardware inside looks to be pretty robust and will have some longevity. You can see the full Press Conference here:

There are lots of gameplay videos in the Press Conference for the PS4 but I have included a couple of my favourites here as well as some other ones from around E3, not all of which are PS4 exclusive. This just represents a nice round up of some pretty exciting looking games.

Batman: Arkham Origins

Kingdom Hearts 3

Final Fantasy XV

Star Wars: Battlefront 3

The Order 1886

oh, and this, there is always time for some of this!

Monday, 10 June 2013

WFH due to bad back, Falling Skies, Game Of Thrones Finale and Apple's IOS7

I was working from home today due to my back still not being my friend. Really not very impressed with this especially having to dose up on painkillers. It's slightly better than yesterday but not good enough to be going out and being jostled on trains and in crowds. Despite the niggling pain it was a good productive day with some of our Agile processes slowly starting to slip into place.

Falling Skies made a return to our screens with Season3 kicking off with a double length episode. I'd got a bit meh about it during Season 2 but this was a return to form. It was a great way to start off the new season and I'm actually really looking forward to seeing how this one pans out now.

...and as the new comes in the old goes out as Game Of Thrones Season 3 came to a close. What a finale it was. Everything starts drawing into place with a massive climax leaving us all frustrated until Season 4 comes out! AAAARRGGGHHHH!

My day finished off in a most exciting way as I watched Apple's IOS7 keynote speech at WWDC 13. IOS has been long overdue for a facelift and what they are proposing to do looks pretty good to me. Maybe some of these features might not be "new" to users of Windows Phone or Android but they are new and most welcome to iPhone users. For me it's all about the functionality and the iPhone does exactly what I need. I am not a blinkered Apple fan girl, I've used both a Windows Phone and Android phone but neither gave me what I wanted or needed. The Windows Phone was actually a closer match and if I was more tightly integrated with all things Microsoft I might have swung that way. As it was I went down the Apple route. PLEASE NOTE: I am not saying X is better than Y or that Z didn't copy W. What I am saying is that I like what Apple are proposing with this update and I believe that it will fit in very well with MY life and with what I do.

For those that are interested:

Sunday, 9 June 2013

Bad backs, Ghostbusters and Monster Hunters

So I woke up this morning and there was a major problem. I could hardly move my back. Not sure what I had done but I was in agony and had little mobility. Toni gave me some serious massage but it didn't really help. I then spent ages in the shower with some seriously hot water in a power rush aimed at the problem were which did alleviate things a little. Toni, Sam and Aaron headed off to Deptford market to do a meat run. I decided it would be safer to stay at home as I didn't want to be jostled about in a busy market and I certainly wouldn't have been able to carry anything.

Following on from last nights hockey I was somewhat disappointed to learn that Chicago Blackhawks beat the L.A. Kings in the second period of overtime and so won the series 4 - 1, became Western Conference winners and will now face Boston Bruins in the Stanley Cup Finals. Looks to be pretty exciting series of games with both teams looking quite evenly matched.

I then dosed myself up with paracetamol and a nice cup of tea and settle down to play Monster Hunter Freedom Unite. I'm years behind where Sam and Aaron are so I have some serious catching up to do before I can go questing with them! I had thought it was just a run around bashing monsters sort of affair but was delighted to find that their was more to it than that with characters having to hunt, and cook among other things to survive. I also managed to get in a little Parappa The Rapper too!

A lovely mahoosive breakfast was accompanied by Ghostbusters. Haven't watched this film for a while and had forgotten just how good it is. It's definitely one that should be listed as a classic.

The back had eased up a little but was still pretty uncomfortable so it was more painkillers for me!

We finished off the lemon meringue pie with tea and then the rest of the night was spent playing Monster Hunter Freedom Unite with Sam and Aaron (and Toni played games on her iPad) with a cocktail of tea, squash and painkillers!

My back is still not my friend so I am hoping that it will be OK for work tomorrow.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Saturday, 8 June 2013

Good Apple, bad NIN, lemon meringue pie, games & films

Had another really good experience with Apple customer service the other day and forgot to blog it so thought I'd share today. I downloaded a free app for my iPhone (a Pokemon Pokedex) which had an in-app upgrade to unlock all the features for £2.99. I also bought another Pokedex app for £1.99. The two looked almost identical only the £1.99 version was better. On further investigation it turned out that both apps were from the same publishing house and author. Needless to say I was a little miffed with this shady company so contacted Apple support and requested a refund of £2.99 for the iffy in-app upgrade. I got an email back saying that all iTunes purchases are binding but in this case they could see why I was upset and agreed to refund me the £2.99. RESULT! Hopefully the publisher will also get a slap on the wrist too and be made to sort things out.

I also suffered big style having been subjected to the new Nine Inch Nails single. Have to say I was really not impressed. Really, really disappointed with this...... It's bland, generic NIN and really does sound like Herr Reznor is only it in for the filthy lucre now rather than having any inspiration or innovation left in him. Be interesting to hear how the rest of the album sounds as this has not excited me at all. If you want to suffer too then here it is:

We didn't do very much today. Got up late after some much needed sleep, had breakfast and watched The Mummy. Later in the afternoon Sam and I hit the kitchen and knocked up a lemon meringue pie.

Before cooking:

After cooking:

My gaming plans continued with a little bit of classic Donkey Kong, Space Invaders and a more up to date Tetris Worlds on the Gameboy Advance. This was followed up by Castlevania X on the PSP. Next stop was updating the PSP to firmware 6.60 and then hacking it to allow me to play games from the memory stick ;o)

Tortilla wrap pizzas were made for noms and then we watch You Don't Mess With The Zohan. DISCO DISCO! Goat, goat, GOAT!

The lemon meringue pie was delicious!!!!!!

Our plan had been to complete the night by saddling up and riding into the sunset with the Three Amigos. This then changed when we had to go and pick up Aaron from Michaela's as he'd left it too late to come back. When we returned we decided to stay up and try and make it through some more ice hockey.....

Chicago Blackhawks took on L.A. Kings in Game 5 of the Western Conference Finals. L.A. Kings came into this game trailing the series 3 - 1 and this game was make or break for them. Six minutes into the first period and Chicago were leading the game 2 - 0! Blackhawks dominated the period and and it ended with them still 2 - 0 up.

Kings came out in the second looking a little sharper and a beautiful shorthanded goal proved that they certainly weren't ready to give up yet. The period ended 2 - 1 with the Kings starting to really get things together.

A nice power play goal for the Kings evened things up five minutes into the third but the Blackhawks went 3 - 2 ahead. With less than ten seconds left in the period the Kings managed to equalise and take the game to overtime, aaaarrggghhh! First overtime ended 3 - 3 so into a second period of overtime we went!

We were shattered by this point so went to bed. We did leave the radio broadcast running but must have crashed out before the game ended! Bugger!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Friday, 7 June 2013

Late nights and looong days (and Arabian Nights.....)

Last night things didn't go quite as planned. Toni and I intended on having an early night but we both start doing various things and then ended up wide awake. As a result we decided to start watching the Chicago Blackhawks v L.A. Kings game. This didn't start until 2am so turned out to be a bad idea! The game was great to watch although by the end of the second period we were really struggling to stay awake. At 04:30, with the light starting to appear, and the game tied at 2 - 2 we gave up and headed to bed only to have to get up again at seven! Sadly I woke to find that the Chicago Blackhawks had won 3 - 2 and were now leading the L.A. Kings 3 - 1 in the series.

Absolutely shattered I headed into work facing a day of long meetings. It was definitely a strong coffee day! Things kicked off with a two hour Sprint Review Meeting. This one was quite painful as everyone was giving feedback on a slightly chaotic process that we've only just start using. There was lots of repetition and going round in circles but overall the meeting was positive. We identified things that need to be improved on that we can take forward into the next Sprints. It did feel very much like a hard slog but things were nowhere near as bad as they could have been and at least everyone seems to be taking on board that we need to start thinking and working in a different way. It was also acknowledged that things would take some time to settle down but we could all see where we wanted to end up. Hopefully the next one will be a lot quicker!

Sadly I didn't have time for lunch as I had an hour to get a few things done before the next meeting. To make matters worse the lifts broke down meaning that we had to walk down the stairs from the 26th to the 16th floor. I'm pleased to report that this Sprint Planning Meeting went a lot better than the one two weeks ago. People were better prepared all round which really helped. Again, the meeting was too long so I'll be working on trying to shorten things in future as I hate long meetings and I know most of the team do too.

The rest of my day was spent prepping the planning tool for the next two weeks. It was driving me nuts to start with but I did manage to get a system going which made it relatively painless overall. I've made a few tweaks to things that should make monitoring things a bit easier. I'm quite looking forward to seeing how the next Sprint goes.

It was an intense day, especially as I'd had only a few hours sleep, but it was rewarding (and stressful too). It was such a relief to get out at the end of the day.
Sadly it was my turn to cook tonight. I really didn't feel like it but after a quick chill I did myself proud. Sam and Gemima were presented with my variation of pasta bolognaise while Toni and I had grilled Dover sole (dressed with lemon and pepper) and a nice green salad. I don't really enjoy cooking all that much but I can cook up some delicious fare when I put my mind to it.

We had a trip down memory lane by watching Disney's wonderful Aladdin. This film never gets old and is definitely a classic. Sam and I were singing along quite merrily and had forgotten very few of the words LOL.

We went a bit hardcore after that and watched the documentary on Monsanto called Seeds Of Death. It's a quote astonishing look at the crap that Monsanto are trying to pull and the danger they are creating in the world today. It's long. It well worth a watch!

Despite knowing the score we watched the final period of the Blackhawks v Kings game to pass away the time until the next live game (at 1am).

This was Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals between Boston Bruins and Pittsburgh Penguins. This was like a repeat of the Bruins v Rangers series with the Bruins heading into this game leading things 3 - 0 and threatening to sweep. They didn't manage to pull it off against New York so could they do it against Pittsburgh? Yes we were probably insane to want to watch this game cruising on only a few hours of sleep but this was a big game and it had to be done! More coffee, strong coffee!

First period started with the Penguins definitely being the hungrier of the two teams. The Bruins seemed to take a while to get revved up but by the last five minutes we had a game on our hands and it was end to end stuff. Boston edged the shots on goal. Sadly the period ended 0 - 0 but at least Boston weren't trailing.

Second period was a bit more frantic. Once again it was end to end stuff but a very free flowing game. Penguins turned it up a notch at the very end but once again things ended with a flat 0 - 0 score line and the Bruins led shots on goal. Neither teams had taken any unnecessary risks in the first two periods but we suspected that this might change in the third.

Refuelled with tea and toast we headed into the third period. First goal came for the Bruins at 14:59 with a beautiful shot from McQuaid. Pressure was on now with the Bruins being one step away from sweeping the Penguins and also in getting through to the Stanley Cup Finals. Despite the Penguins trying to turn things around it was the Bruins that seemed more dangerous. Rather than defend their lead they kept up the attack.

The final 90 seconds were mental with the Penguins pulling their netminder for the extra attacker but the Bruins held on and won the game 1 - 0, took the series 4 - 0 and emerged winners of the Eastern Conference Finals and now have a well deserved place in the Stanley Cup Finals. Just need the Blackhawks v Kings series to conclude then we find out who the Bruins will face. It could be decided tomorrow night!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Thursday, 6 June 2013

Warmachine and Hordes

Following on from our recent Warhammer and Dungeons & Dragons playing we have now discovered a new system to indulge in: Warmachine & Hordes.

These are two separate games that are designed to be played against each other for lots of battlefield fun!

From the beginning, Hordes was designed to be played against Warmachine. Playing a Warmachine army against a Hordes army is little different from playing two Hordes armies or two Warmachine armies against each other, and many of the special rules are written so that they affect models from both games in similar ways. As an example, damage is recorded differently for warbeasts (in branches) and warjacks (in columns), but most effects which let you choose a column to record damage against a warjack also let you choose a branch, and vice-versa. However, each game does have models which possess special rules which are not effective against models from the other game.

It looks like a simple system to pickup and we are looking forward to choosing armies and smashing some skulls!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Getting (fr)Agile but things are improving

It's been an interesting week and a half since we launched our move to Agile. It's not been a pain free experience that's for sure! I'm sure as time goes on it will all settle down and run smoothly but at the moment it all feels a little disjointed and chaotic.

Saying that though it does all seem to be coming together slowly and I believe there is light at the end of the tunnel. The key here is that everyone needs to embrace what we are doing and step up to make it a success. Lots of things are having to change which is causing a certain level of frustration all round but I truly believe that this can start to work well.

I had been going to blog about what a disaster it was but I'm glad I took time out from blogging now as I actually feel a lot more positive. That's not to say that you won't be subjected to some Agile related rants at some point in the near future......

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Last.FM listening post

Here's last week's top picks music lovers!

Top weekly tracks:

Top weekly artists:

Overall top tracks:

Overall top artists: