Some Things Never Change

Office moves or desks moves, at my current employer, I have moved one floor down and desks now three times. My current desk is situated in an extremely open plan office. We have had the partitions lowered to a bear minimum, which will make calls very interesting in the future. The objective to increase collaboration between all members of the Operations team and make us as a department approachable for all sections of the business we support.

A regular occurrence almost four years ago, was being the victim of multiple office pranks by dearest colleague while working at Intel Corporation in Swindon. I tried my best to document each event, to ensure evidence could be provided to HR in time for performance reviews. We have a variety of attempts to disrupt my working day, all of which I took on the chin, in the vain they were attempted. Just a quick recap Eco Warrior was Back In The Office Read(ing) All About It and taking the Action Required. I have also now gone back and added the tag – office prank to better catalog all attempts to sabotage my working space.

You can imagine my surprise to return back to my desk from a meeting to find this – my monitor, keyboard, telephone, mouse mat and phone charger covered in Post-It Notes.

Post It

No Air

Driving home from Wycombe to Slough on Thursday 23rd October, around 9pm, the night sky was lit up with fireworks for Diwali. Travelling down the A404 (M), I was listening to Capital FM and a female caller, requested Wait On Me by Rixton. Having not heard this before, I thought it best to at least give the song a chance. Being outside the age bracket for contemporary popular music, I had never heard of this band before but had heard their other main hit – Me & My Broken Heart. (Although at the time I did not know who they were). Young people of today, will be shocked to discover that even up to the late 90s, you could call up a radio station to request a song, only for them to play something completely different. I can recall DJ’s actually saying, “We do not have song X, but we can play song Y, will you please introduce…” This practice obviously would not work in this well connected, YouTube, instant gratification world. Plus, how may young people wait for a song to be played on the radio. The prestige of such a premiere nolonger works in a multichannel multimedia world. A song can be available for many months online before you hear it on the radio, although to be fair to the radio networks, they have got better in recent years. Then again, who under 30 still listens to the radio?

Ed Sheeran is going to dance in his next music video was the filler chat from a DJ one weekend a few weeks ago, as I made my way out and about. I thought little more of this idle chatter until I went to watch the music video on YouTube via our television set a few nights later. Ed is dancing for sure, but it is little more than window dressing by his fabulous performance parter, from So You Think You Can Dance – Brittany Cherry. Reading about the choreographers of the dance, I was taken to some of their note worthy performances from the US dance competition. Unsure of a duo calling themselves Nappytabs (The concatenated name of married couple and working partners Napoleon & Tabitha). There was a comment from Jordin Sparks regarding her song “No Air” but I did not get a chance to watch the video until Friday evening, when I got to search for the video on YouTube on the TV. We had been viewing various clips, from Avengers: Age of Ultron trailer, to funny clips from The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. Watching the clip, took my breath away. YouTube with it’s file limits and heavy compression does not do the dance justice. I actually need to hunt down the full HD version but for now, this is all we have. How did I miss this from six years ago?

I have probably watched the clip about a dozen times now. I love every second, particularly the part when Joshua is brought back up from the floor by Katee. The ending with the exchange of the jacket is pure poetry. I wonder if Sparks or even Brown for that matter would have thought their song would ever been performed while a couple performed Lyrical Hip-Hop. While American has a long standing history of dance and dance shows, here in the UK, aside from BGT, most of the dance shows (Strictly Come Dancing aside) have flopped because there is not the appetite for this type of performance, cloaked with the candy of reality television presented by one of our own, Brummie Cat Deeley.

Roadworks On The Doorstep

Nobody likes roadworks. Yet, they are an everyday nuisance of modern life. Living next to the First Great Western mainline route between Paddington and the West has meant we are inflicted upon by the noise of trains going by on a regular basis from 6am until midnight. Just like the planes overhead flying out and in to Heathrow, you get used to and after a month or so acclimatise to their existence. However, when we moved in over three years ago we knew little of the impact Crossrail would have on our new home. Stoke Poges Lane has a bridge, affectionately named after a local factory landmark, Horlicks Bridge. The bestowed name from the GSK building nearby which many years ago produced the nightime beverage. It is tight for two regular vehicles to cross at the same time and when lorries approach the crossing, they have to wait to ensure they are given a clear passage. Network Rail own the bridge, rather than Slough Borough Council, so therefore have been in charge of the upgrade in preparation for the electrification of the line from Reading all the way to the capital. The bridge is to be removed in November and fully replaced with full size bridge in April. Meanwhile we have had to put up with roadworks which started about two weeks ago, with three way traffic lights controlling the flow of vehicles over the bridge.

Roadworks

While driving home from Wycombe this evening, I came up to the lights and waited for them to turn green as you do. A wait of ten minutes, maybe a little more. However, as the lights turned green, a driver had taken the risk and jumped the red light on the other side. Now most cars ahead of me decided this was just not on and decided to force the driver to stop just before the signal. Being the better person I decided to let the silver Golf pass, only to have a bright blue BMW behind me toot their horn for holding them up. I was trying to let the vehicle through, so then the rest of the traffic would have clear run at the bridge. Oh the impatience of some drivers. This reall does get my goat sometimes. Why is everybody in such a hurry. I am sure there was a Honda Jazz television advert from many years ago which ended with the lines – “Aren’t We All Just Trying To Get Somewhere…!”

Proud Landing

A last minute change of plan, meant I found myself booking a flight over to Prague for a business trip on Monday returning late Tuesday evening. My last business trip was almost exactly two years ago while working for Microsoft to the capital of Finland. I was travelling to the Czech Republic and unknown to me at the time, Holland would be playing them in European Championship Qualifier but I would be on my flight home as the match kicked off.

Central London from the air

There is no greater feeling of pride than watching over the bright lights of the London cityscape as we fly down into Heathrow. We flew over Windsor and my office as we made our final approach to Terminal 3. I struggled to make out the building but I could see the Honda building, which is on junction 7 of the M4 and that gave me bearings to look in the right direction. While this was perhaps not as awe inspiring as my trip two years ago, I still felt an immense pride, a warm feeling of what it means to British. While the union may only exist for another nine days, I cannot let go so easily myself.

Canary Wharf By Night From The Air, London, England.

Months go past with little activity on the blog. I have to be honest, there has been little, if anything worth capturing in recent months. While a short holiday in Turkey may be worth mentioning, I still need to sort through the six hundred plus photographs, although most have now finally been uploaded to FlickR (although not ready to be shared with the public just yet). Summer and been and gone and as we head into September, life begins to return to normal. The train begins on the long journey to December, the end of the year, Christmas before a new year beckons. Where has 2014 gone? Seems to have passed me by without any such plan…

Momentous Milestones

This was not how I had intended to end my weekend, driving back from Nottingham to Slough. My car broke down, just off the M69 as we were approaching the A46 outside Coventry. A call to Green Flag and a forty minute wait later, we were towed over to the nearby Tesco supermarket. It was nearly 8pm at this point, the supermarket long since closed but the petrol station was open and we bought some sandwiches while we waited. The car was going to be loaded onto a trailer and driven down to Slough but we had up to a 90 minute wait. It was going to be a long night. The truck arrived within thirty minutes and we were on our way home. We did not expect to be home before 11pm.

On Trailer

We had been in Nottingham for the 100th Birthday celebrations of my long term family friend’s mother. It had been a wonderful but tiring day and we looking forward to getting home at 7pm to prepare for another working week. It was not to be.

Poor Franchise Choices

I went to see X-Men this lunchtime with Michelle at Vue Reading as a late birthday treat. Over a year since I have been to the cinema in the Berkshire town, last time was to see Fast Six with Pav. With regards to the X-Men franchise, I have always made poor choices, perhaps even today.

The original X-Men and sequel X2 passed me by and I did not actually watch the first until late into my first year at University. The second I caught during my placement year in 2002. My friend, Sippy was a big fan and I have to say the start of X2 is probably one of the best openings to a superhero movie ever. So having missed the boat, I decided to go and watch the third and perhaps weakest movie in the franchise in the cinema, in late May 2006. Perhaps I should not have bothered but it was good to finally see our band of mutants on the big screen after the two outings on the small screen.

Three years later, I went to see X-Men Origins: Wolverine with Pav at the same cinema on a Friday night at the end of April. Disappointingly Jackman was unable to pull off a movie on his own, he needed a good group of mutants to support him. While there was potential here, particularly the Deadpool character, it was a missed opportunity by Marvel. No wonder Fox decided to go back to the drawing board.

In 2011, I was too busy distracted by the plans for our wedding to actually go and watch X-Men First Class. I had dismissed the reboot, after two rather lacklustre movies, which I had spent good money on to see on the big screen. I did not want to be disappointed again. Later, I would receive the movie on Blu-Ray for Christmas and watch over the festive period and be completely blown away. The X-Men were back with a bang and the entire franchise, and not just been rejuvenated but re-set.

Roll forward almost three years and we were keen to catch the film at the cinema and not wait for the home video release. After watching Jackman, McAvoy and Fassbender on Graham Norton a few weeks ago, we wanted to see the movie, mainly because we could see how much fun the group had on set. My verdict, seven out of ten, it was good fun, entertaining but quite predictable in places and no way near as good as First Class. Maybe because they needed to cross pollinate the two cast groups to bridge a new timeline for the future movies. If there is one thing the studios love, it is a bankable movie franchise with multiple money making opportunities.

The Most Sincere Form Of Flattery

Feel I have been disconnected in recent weeks until my brother-in-law Steve streamed this video on his TV this afternoon. #PatelWilliams now that is just pure genius! Well done to Ali for another fantastic performance!

Lifestyle Changes

Many months since a blog post, making me wonder who still actually reads this blog and is it worth still investing the expense to keep it running (along with all my other websites). While I can continue to have a relative limit web presence for free by using Twitter and Facebook. (Although Facebook I tend to use less to publish and more to discover what is happening in my circle of friends and ex work colleagues.)

Time is flying and we are almost at the mid point of 2014. A World Cup Year. Perhaps for the first time for many years, I have little care for the fortunates (or lack thereof) of the England team. I have been tasked to set up the World Cup Sweep Stakes in our office and had the bad luck to pick Belgium. I need to spend some time this weekend, collating all the prize money and putting together a wall chart to display on the wall behind my desk.

On Friday 15th March, I made the decision to change my gym days and start to attend a weekly spin class at 5:45pm each Friday evening after work. My last spin class had been in September 2009. I returned as I wanted to have a single hour session to focus on cardio and spend my other two gym sessions on weight training / toning. While having to spend time at the office later than expected on a Friday, I felt the class was a good way of earning my weekend and potentially also come into the gym on a Sunday morning. The class is taken by Amber and there are usually a group of six guys whom regularly attend. I have to admit it was a struggle to start with, making sure the bike was set-up correctly. Three weeks were probably my bed in period but considering a few weeks when I have not been able to make the class, due to work commitments or having to be somewhere outside of work at a certain time. I do try and get to the class early and position my bike as close as possible to the single fan which is the only form of air conditioning in the studio. I finish the class with tired legs, a sore backside and dripping with sweat but perhaps not as much sweat as my colleagues. I know I need to push myself a little more and that came apparently on my most recent class last night. A late arrival meant the instructor came off her bike and walked around the room, increasing the resistance on my bike several times during the class, as I was making it look far too easy. The benefits are there for all to see, I have lost several pounds since starting the class in mid March. I am now close to 12 stone, and would like to get to 11.5 stone as my ideal weight. Remember at the start of the year I weighed in closer to 13 stone. I still need to invest in a fitness tracker but have yet to decide on what product to buy, with the FitBit Force still not available in the UK (having been withdrawn from sale from other markets). I am still using My Fitness Pal to track my calorie intake and Daily Burn to record my fitness progress each week.

WordPress Themes