Sunday, 31 January 2016

Back again after a much needed time out

I'm back again! Did you miss me? No? Oh well LOL. I took a week out to come up for air from life in general. It's not that nothing interesting happened but I just needed some downtime without worrying about update my blog etc etc. I'll probably fill in some gaps from last week at some point but I will update going forwards :)

Friday, 22 January 2016

I've got Ebola...

I've got ebola and it's amazing. I have a lovely little petrie dish with 3 ebola virus plushes in it (represented at one million times magnification. They are amazing. Giant microbes are great fun and I just might get some more. My ebola went down a storm at the office!

Thursday, 21 January 2016

Inspirational parking, BAU and chilling

Early morning chuckles were had by Sam and I as we observed an old guy popping into the newsagents. Actually there was nothing funny about that bit but the way he parked his car was truly inspiring:

Today was thankfully free from interviews so it was business as usual with lots of normal scrum meetings instead. That's not to say that they weren't full of angst and stress of course but it was better than more interviews LOL. 

The evening was spent chilling out finished off Season 14 of Hell's Kitchen and then catching up with the latest episodes of The Flash and Star Wars Rebels. We finished things off with Vancouver Canucks v Boston Bruins.

Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Interview burnout, Pam's new muff and a visit from dad

It was a relief to have one of the two interview candidates cancel today as I think I am nearing interview burnout. Sometimes you just need to be able to get on and do some work LOL. I don't mind doing them at all but having done so many in the space of two days was just a little too much. In future I'll try and recommend that we spread them out a little rather than taking the overlapping compact approach.

Toni has been hard at it on the crochet trail again. This time she has made Pam an amazing muff. It looks fabulous and this is such a great photo:

We also had a visit from dad tonight who was down in London and business and was staying over for the night. It's always great to meet up and have a catch up. We introduced him to the wonders of Hell's Kitchen.

Tuesday, 19 January 2016

Interviews, interviews, interviews

As you might have guessed today was mainly made up of interviews! As our quest for a new Delphi developer continued we had a large line up of potential candidates today. Getting them all scheduled in was a challenge due to the structure of how we do things buy I managed it. It's quite fun doing interviews but it is also somewhat stressful and tiring. Keeping good notes as you go along is key to keeping on top of things but thankfully I was good at that.  I can't say much more than that as there are plenty more candidates to see so hopefully we'll have a clear winner once everything is done.

Monday, 18 January 2016

Friends Reunited RIP and conducting interviews

Today it was announced that the Friends Reunited website is going to close. Now for all of you youngsters out there this is what we had as a social network before Facebook and Twitter and when Myspace was king. Having a profile was free but you had to pay to actually send anyone a message. Why am I bothering to even talk about this you might ask? Well, if it hadn't been for Friends Reunited Toni would never have sent me a wink and the world could be very different now. This is one of the many faces that the site had over the years:

Who knows, if they had dropped their paid subscription model much sooner it might have lasted but there was no way it could compete with the free models offered by Myspace, Facebook, Bebo (YUK) and Twitter. The subscription model did get dropped in 2008 but by then it was too late as they had lost too much ground. In fact after our initial Friends Reunited wink and my follow up message (as I had a subscription) Toni and I predominantly conversed on MSN Messenger (remember that one?) and Myspace.

Here's the relevant social media timeline:
Friends Reunited 2000
Myspace 2003
Facebook 2004 (US Only) & 2005 (UK & worldwide)
Bebo 2005
Twitter 2006

Sad to see that Friends Reunited is going to close but then it was also sad to see Myspace try and be like Facebook and in the process completely destroy itself to the point of it being irrelevant although it does exist as a pale imitation of it's former self.

Today was supposed to be a busy one loaded up with three interviews to fill a Delphi. I got in to work to find that two couldn't make it so it was much easier. The one today went well with the candidate being asked back for further sessions tomorrow. Tomorrow is now going to be very busy with four interviews followed by two on Wednesday. Still, it's much better than sitting around idle I guess!

Sunday, 17 January 2016

A little snow and snuggling on the sofa

We had a little snow overnight. Not a lot mind but enough to show it did. I wanted more but maybe it will come at some point.

We didn't get up until gone noon today which was a novelty. It was even more unique because Toni actually slept all the way through as Pam had a rare settled night.

We took it easy today and just chilled out. Breakfast from Richard's was accompanied by The People Versus George Lucas. This was an interesting docufilm with lots of people whining about the changes that George made to the Star Wars original trilogy and just for the existence of the prequel trilogy. It was funny to watch how worked up people got about the whole thing and their complete denial that anyone could actual enjoy the prequels. Nerd anger can be quite an amusing thing. 

 The rest of the day was spend watching the Harry Potter films all snuggled on the sofa. I seem to enjoy these films more each time I watch them which is nice as I was not a massive fan to start with so my appreciation is growing. We got the first three done today and I have a feeling we'll do the rest throughout the week :)

Saturday, 16 January 2016

Suckling pig and brownies

So, today for dinner we are having suckling pig. It was delivered yesterday and today Sam started prepping it.

Sadly I didn't get a photo before he got in there but I can't wait to see how this turns out once cooked. Pictures coming up that you may not want to see so you have been warned!

Apologies for the photos if you don't like to see what meat looks like before it comes to you!

Sam and I also made brownies today :)

There was a matinee New York Rangers game today against the Philadelphia Flyers. Rangers haven't been playing too well of late so I was hopeful that they might turn things around. Things didn't look great as they went 0 - 1 down but managed to make it 1 - 1 and then took a 2 - 1 lead into the third. Sadly the Flyers made it 2 - 2 and so it was into overtime. Overtime yielded no result but thankfully the Rangers won after penalty shots.

Our ikkle piggy was absolutely delicious. We enjoyed it while we watched Dogma.

Friday, 15 January 2016

Mental day

Today was a mental day. The morning was busy making sure that the finalisation of the latest release was going well. I'd set aside time in the after to complete my appraisal form information but that plan kind of went out the window as I became in demand for all sorts of stuff and I just kept getting interruption followed by interruption. I did manage to get the bulk of it done but I'll be spending some time over the weekend to get it completed. No peace for the wicked LOL.

Getting home was then a pain as two trains were cancelled. Sam had the day off to have the next stage of his tattoo done so I decided to get the train to Welling and meet him and then we travelled back home together in a taxi which was much easier than fighting get back on a more direct route.

Thursday, 14 January 2016

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Oh my gosh, oh my gosh, oh my gosh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

....and you were all thinking that Star Wars fever had died down! It might not be much but it's a start of the build up to Rogue One! Hell, even if it's not real it has still ignited a spark for the next Star Wars movie instalment!

Wednesday, 13 January 2016

Early morning exercise, new sofa and long busy day

Today was busy as a busy thing. It started off getting up at 7 and having to move a sofa out of the living room and into the garden to make way for a new one that was being delivered. The new one arrived at 7:15 but the men couldn't get it in the house as it was bizarrely packed in a box! Their rules said they weren't allowed to unpack it so Aaron and I had to and then get it in the house. That was far too much exercise for first thing in the morning.

New sofa safely installed in the living and it was time to work from home. I started at 7:45. There was a break of around thirty minutes but I then worked through until 17:45. One long ass day in which I managed to review a document for the boss and take a call with him and then complete peer reviews for twelve colleagues! That was a marathon session that's for sure.

Tuesday, 12 January 2016

Visit from OT

Today we had a visit from Occupational Therapy doing an assessment on Pam's needs. We've been waiting for this visit since September. Despite the long wait for it to happen it was a good visit. They have decided to put special grab rails in the downstairs toilet and also replace the chair seat with a new style one. They are also going to get quotes for us to have ramps put outside to allow us to get Pam in and out easily without requiring two people. The only downside is that they might have to apply for a grant for the ramp which could take time. How long you say? Who knows but hopefully not too long!

This is the sort of thing that we'll hopefully be getting:

Monday, 11 January 2016

There's a starman waiting in the sky.......

....He'd like to come and meet us but he thinks he'd blow our minds
There's a starman waiting in the sky
He's told us not to blow it cause he knows it's all worthwhile
He told me: Let the children lose it, let the children use it, let all the children boogie

I got in to work today to be confronted by the news that David Bowie has passed on following an eighteen month battle with cancer. This left me a little bit sad. Now I'm not going to start waffling on about how I was his number fan as that would not be true. I liked some of his stuff and appreciated the vast amount of talent that he had and his amazing ability to reinvent himself and adapt and evolve and just keep on going with his music. He was uncompromising and did what he wanted to do. I also loved Labyrinth and let's face it, who doesn't LOL.

So where am I going with this? Well I started thinking about Bowie's songs that I enjoyed, most of which were his most popular singles but there was nothing really deep. I started listening to The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars and it suddenly hit me what a profound effect this particular album had on me and I hadn't actually realised it. I did have a connection with David Bowie. When I first heard it way back around 1985 I was amazed (yeah I know, I was a late starter what with it being 12 years after the initial release). I was fifteen years old and it spoke to me. I was captivated as Five Years started to unfold. The composition and the lyrics were just wow. Every song is strong and even though at the time I wanted fast rock n roll type numbers (I did get this with Star, Hang On To Yourself and Suffragette City) I loved the mix of song styles and tempos across the album. I did enjoy Diamond Dogs and Aladdin Sane but for me they were never as good as Ziggy Stardust!

Listening to it today made me realise just how special it was and how it made me think about songwriting and composition. It transported me back to when I first listened to it and how moving the whole thing was. Damn, how moving the whole thing is. The arrangement and dynamics sound fresh even today which isn't bad for an album released in 1972!

Did David Bowie change my life? No not at all! Did he help me through the dark times? No, not really. But he did create The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars which forever changed the way I would look at songwriting, composing and musical structure etc. That is where I get my connection with David Bowie. A remarkable album that has a remarkable effect on me.

Just like Freddie Mercury he pushed through against the odds to complete one last project to give to the fans. I will be buying Blackstar and will treat it with the respect it deserves. Farewell Starman, wherever you are......

I shall leave you with four videos. We'll start off with my favourite part of Labyrinth:

...and now on to some Bowie music:

The Laughing Gnome:

One of the best covers of a Beach Boys song ever, this is a beautiful version of God Only Knows:

..and his last ever video, released a few days before he died, Lazarus:

Lady Stardust sang his songs of darkness and dismay.....

Sunday, 10 January 2016

A day of rest with The Flash

Sunday was a day of rest. It was nice. It was also Flash day. We watched the final half of season one of The Flash and then moved on to season two. What started out a little hit and miss has now evolved into a very good show with some great writing and story arcs. We've had some crossover work with The Arrow already and the series will soon branch off into the new Legends Of Tomorrow TV series too.

The future of DC Comics based TV seems to be quite promising, they just need to get the movies kicked into shape now.

Saturday, 9 January 2016

Crow Dancers recording and social media

It was a busy day of doing Crow Dancers stuff today. I started off with doing some more recording for the album. It's all starting to sound really good, hopefully we'll be able to release some teasers soon.

My next task was upping the ante on the Crow Dancers social media presence and connecting everything up with a new Reverbnation hub. If you want to follow the adventures of the Crow Dancers then you can find us at the following places:
Facebook -
Twitter  -
Google+  -
Youtube  -
Reverbnation  -
Website -

Please feel free to Like, Follow, Sign Up to some of the sites listed :)

Thursday, 7 January 2016

New responsibility

Back at work again after my day off. It was a tough but good day. Sometimes my Agile teams can be challenging but that's quite enough about them LOL. In other news I am now actively involved in recruitment and went out with the boss for a coffee with one of our main recruitment agents to discuss the role we are trying to fill. It's a new are for me to be involved in but I welcome the challenge and the additional experience it will give me.

It looks like this year is going to involve more responsibility which in turns means a heavier work load but I won't complain if I am kept busy and appreciated for it. It's always nice to have a positive outlook when it comes to ones career so life is good.

Wednesday, 6 January 2016

Day off and more ink for Toni

I had a day off today. Toni was off to have more work done on her tattoo so I was on Pam sitting duty. We kicked things off with breakfast from Richard's before Toni went and I then settled down to have a nice relaxed day. New Japan and Combat Zone Wrestling took care of some of my time :) I probably should have been more productive but I was feeling a bit flat.

The flat soon went away when I saw the awesomeness of Toni's new ink. Here's some snippets of the work that she had done:

I'll be getting the goddess in the bottom right square done on my right arm to match Toni's. Can't wait to get this done!

Here's an updated shot of Toni's green man, just look at those eyes:

Given previous posts you won't be surprised to hear that we carried on watching more Tattoo Fixers tonight although All4 are slow in getting their catalogue updated so we'll have to stop soon and find another tattoo show to watch.

Tuesday, 5 January 2016

Great day

Today was a good day, actually it was a great day. Work was good, work was very good. There, I said it LOL (and relax!). Just when you think you are heading for a slump something comes along and makes sure you don't go there. This is a good thing!

After a couple of our usual show catch ups (Scorpion and Supergirl) we went back to our Tattoo Fixers habit!

The icing on the cake was the New York Rangers putting in an astonishing 6 - 2 victory over league leaders Dallas Stars. Most impressive1

Monday, 4 January 2016

Back to the grind, Wrestle Kingdom 10 and Tattoo Fixers

Today marked my return to the office and getting back to the grind. Getting up was a bit of a struggle that's for sure. On the plus side there were far less people on the train travelling in. Lots of coffee was consumed and slowly I back into the swing of things although it wasn't easy. The journey home was also lighter than usual on passengers so it was all good.

Once home we settled down and watched New Japan Pro Wrestling's Wrestle Kingdom 10 pay per view.  Just like the G1 Climax 25 series this is how you put on a wrestling card. Please take note WWE, you don't need shitty storylines and hours of flashbacks to previous shows to make an event entertaining. It was a really strong card with loads of brilliant matches. Whilst it is only January the A.J. Styles v Shinsuke Nakamura match for the IWGP Intercontinental Championship is definitely contender for match of the year already. That one will take some beating. In what could be great news it was announced that after the event both Styles and Nakamura have resigned from NJPW and are likely to sign WWE contracts. This 'could' be great news if they are used correctly once they get there.

After the grappling it was time for a couple of episodes of Tattoo Fixers before we went to bed. I think this program might be our new Hell's Kitchen for must see TV.

Sunday, 3 January 2016

Final day off before the return

Worst day in the world is that final one where you know it's back to work again after a long break. It was no exception after my Christmas break. This is how I felt:

Nothing very much was done today and it was nice. I just chilled out and watched some interesting documentaries and enjoyed my last hours of freedom before heading back to the office tomorrow. It's been a  really good break, it's just a shame that it all has to end,

Saturday, 2 January 2016

Brekkie, room tidy, Pika-madness and Dan Brown stuff

Busy day for a Saturday. We started with the delights of Richard's being open after a Christmas break so it was cooked breakfast delights for us. Toni and I then spent the day doing a big clear out, tidy up and re-arranging of the living room. It was a lot of work but it looks fabulous now.

After the tidying Zoe went Pikachu crazy:

...and spread that craziness to Toni much to her disgust!

We watched a documentary on the symbols that Dan Brown used in his Lost Symbol book. It was pretty good and gave an unusually balanced view on the Freemasons. Following on from this we went into Dan Brown mode and watched both The Da Vinci Code and Angels And Demons. 

Friday, 1 January 2016

Crow Dancers recording and first Drum Circle

Today I spent a lot of time in the home studio laying bass and vocals for more Crow Dancers tracks. Everything is coming together really well and I can't wait to be able to share the finished results with you all.

Toni and I spent the evening in the pleasant company of Giselle and Carol at our first Drum Circle of 2016. It was a very powerful session with come great connections made as the fire danced wildly to the four points. It's simple things like these that keep us in touch with the things that really matter in life.

Happy New Year

Happy New Year to all my friends and family. May your 2016 be filled with love, laughter and magick xx

It is the year of the monkey so here's what is to be said about that (apparently):
The year of the Monkey is ideal for a quantum leap in your life! Now is the time to shake things up, create change, and innovate a new path. Join Monkey’s enthusiast energy when risks are rewarded and anything can happen. Even the most ambitious plans can succeed. There will be more than enough action and opportunity to keep you busy. In Monkey year, it’s fine to just make it up as you go along. Just don’t be gullible and trust the wrong people, or wily Monkey will take all the peanuts and leave you only shells.