Category: Birthday

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.

Birthday Abroad

My dearest friend Pav has been lucky enough to spend many a birthday in his favourite countries throughout Europe. Being born in mid January does align with the winter ski and snowboard season. Lucky boy! Being born towards the end of year, has generally meant I have never had the option to go abroad. By the time winter hits the UK, most people have long used up their holiday entitlement, me included. I recall taking a phone call on my birthday from a friend and being told it was the second worst birth month after his own of February. (Talk about making me feel better!) However this year, thanks to Michelle, I was lucky enough to spend my birthday in Spain. My wife had organised a surprise visit to the Barcelona for a weekend away in what we hoped would be some sunshine. Of course it was not the complete surprise Michelle had intended as I needed to book some time off work and make my passport available. Nevertheless a fantastic way for me to spend my 32nd birthday and totally out of bag from what I had expected.

While we live a fifteen minute drive from Heathrow, the EasyJet flights were from Gatwick so we had a mini trek across London to make it to the airport. However, as we both had the afternoon off, we made excellent time leaving at 3:40pm and making it to the check-in desk of the North Terminal by 5:45pm. Our flight was not until 8pm.

La Sagrada FamíliaLa Sagrada FamíliaTeg

A wonderful weekend, with us able to pack in so much into a mere 48 hours. We did a little sight seeing, had a fantastic meal at the top rated restaurant in the city and were able to take a tour around the Nou Camp. I would like to add more to this blog but now, two weeks later, it is late and my memory is starting to fade. I hope I get the chance to fill everybody in on our adventures. I took almost 400 photos, so I should really make the FlickR set public. I will get around to it eventually – I promise!

Thirty One Not Out

It is that time of year once again. A few clues for the uninitiated.

On Screen DisplayTicket To Ride

A big thank you for all the cards, messages and love. My colleagues were treated to a selection of Krispy Kreme doughnuts. (Six dozen with a variety of choice). The most popular person in the office on a Friday. Those who decided to work from home (as many do at MS on a Friday) regret their decision.

Defying Gravity

During 2010, my wife Michelle was a fan of Glee along with me and we were watching series one at practically the same time. Although I was a few episodes ahead, on my weekly TV diet, she would watch episodes in major blocks. We watched an episode together, “Wheels”, one weekend (I think I may have already seen it) but she was catching up. The episode in question, featuring Rachel Berry and Kurt Hummel performing a musical number. Where is this from, I asked! Wicked, my dearest fiancé replied. I had heard of the Broadway musical. In fact many years earlier my Mum had actually gone on a school trip with her school girls into the West End to see the show! I really enjoyed the song and it soon became a personal favourite. Of course Rachel’s version is much better because it was always written with the idea of a female vocalist. Even though in the show, Kurt fumbles his lines on purpose (not hitting the top note) to miss out on a lead role. I did want to see the show myself, Michelle had been lucky enough to see the show early into the West End run with Andy Garcia in a lead role! Would she really want to go and see it again?

My birthday was on the horizon and I asked Michelle that I would like to go for a nice meal and to see the show Wicked. She instantly agreed and went ahead with all the arrangements. I do have an amazing wife! I was looking forward to the show, I knew the plot device, an alternative back story to The Wizard Of Oz. After our meal at The Athenaeum Hotel, we rushed across to Victoria in a Hackney Carriage and made it just in time to take our seats before the show started. In fact, I even had a chance for a call of nature, but heard music being played as I made way back from the toilets to our seats. A fantastic stage, I really like the Art Deco feel of the Victoria Apollo. It was another sold out performance of the smash hit show.

Wicked London

Michelle (who I am sure would have wanted to whisper to me more during the performance) only prodded me moments before the climatic close to Act One and smiled. Defying Gravity is a pure pop song. I love the lyrics, the change in mood, the feeling it invokes within. It means so much and has the possibility of living a life without limits and a boundless energy! I am disappointed I did not see the show performed on the Beeb’s I’ll Do Anything. Although having said that, I have tended to avoid these Graham Norton vehicle, Andrew Lloyd Webber backed talent hunts. Maybe I should dig it up on YouTube? Now having seen the show, do I really want to dampen my memory with a low-par (apparently out of tune performance) from television?

The Big Three Zero

Only Smarties Have The Answer...

Birthday Cake

Twenty Days Left Of My Twenties

This should be a major symbolic post, that goes on for over one thousand words but based on my recent lack of activity (less than an entry per a month in real time) I very much doubt I will be able to perform to that level. (I believe my natural peak in terms of blog output was sometime over the summer of 2006). Instead I will do my best to try and capture in a few paragraphs the journey of the last ten years.

In 2001, I was in my second year at University in the city of Leicester, living in a shared house off Narborough Road. The main hub of student existence for DMU students in the East Midlands city. The internet connection was un-metered dial up using Freeserve. I shared the cost with my house mate, final year law student Shahid, who had the room downstairs (the converted front room). We were however the poor relations to my house mate Sippy who had NTL TV and cable broadband. Life overall was good, studies were going well. I had a part time weekend job at Jacksons Stores about a minute walk from the house. The campus was about a ten minute walk from our house and I remember those cold mornings having to get up early to get over there for lectures. It is a real shame that I did not have a blog at this moment in time (I did however have an on-line presence with my personal website but it was not updated regularly and had actually fallen into a state of semi-neglect). This changed in early 2002, when I focused on securing a placement for my year out in industry. I set up a new professional website on my DMU Computer Science account (c00at) with help of my house mate Sippy. This website has evolved over time and I now host my professional website over at Andrew Tegala dot Net

In my hunt for an internship, I took on the responsibility myself and wrote directly to all the big players. I used my University Placement Service sparingly but in the end it was two positions I applied through them that turned into interviews. All of my personal applications resulted in rejections. Blue chip rejections that my future final year house mate, Nav would comment on, many years later, on one of his now long abandoned blogs. My first interview was with the National Grid in Winnersh. I had to prepare a presentation, which if I am honest did not go very well. After the two person interview, I met up with two of the current interns and was given a very brief walk around the office. I did not endure myself to them very well, refusing an offer of a drink and then perhaps over stepping the mark by asking how other candidates had performed. I left the interview, knowing in my mind I would not be called back for the second stage of the process.

It was then I had another interview actually on campus for the placement I would eventually obtain. It felt strange dressing up in a suit and walking to campus from Cambridge Street and then going up to some random floor in the James Went building (long since demolished and replaced). However I did not want to take this placement. Although the job itself was fine, it was the commuting distance (to Bedford) which every day would be a strain! Over one hundred miles a day and six hundred a week. Over the course of a year I would clock up over twenty four thousand miles plus spend over two hours commuting every day. My Placement Office were not very helpful, if I failed to take the position I had been offered, they would refuse to help me with any further applications. While this seemed like a relevantly empty threat (eighty percent of my applications had been completed using my own initiative) it was getting late into the process. I was unlikely to find another placement. With some bitterness I accepted the role and continued with the studies of my second year.

My placement year was probably the biggest moment of my life up to that point in time. It was a test, a coming of age for me in the sense of a fresh new start. A great of events took place during my placement year, most of which I do not wish to go into but the most significant resulted in me starting this blog. Yes, believe it or not nine years have passed since I started putting all my thoughts and feelings onto the inter-web. It has been one incredible journey and I never thought I would still be posting all these years later. Now thanks to WordPress I have categorised all my Birthday entries, so you can read them in their very own category. Here’s to many more birthdays to come, all the way up to the next milestone, the big four-zero! I wonder how much my life will have changed in the next decade!

Only 8,760 Hours

Stop the clock, there are now just a mere 31, 536, 000 seconds left of my twenties. The big 30 is fast approaching and there is very little I can do stop this collision course. I just guess I have to hang on and enjoy the ride!

The New Kid On The Block

Friday 27th November 2009

I return to my regular Friday evening updates but being unemployed you would think I would have time to post updates at any point in the week, but the reality of life job hunting is anything but regular. A great deal to cover in the past seven days and I will try and be brief and precise as much as possible.

It is difficult to compete with a review posted on BT’s blog a mere 48 hours after the event. I wish I could provide such an efficient service but with a backlog (including day two onwards of Reading and my Valencia holiday) I have my work cut out. I was looking forward to Saturday, but not as much as BT and PK, they had been high since around Tuesday (17th). I was late and at one point was even considering meeting up at the Spice Oven, rather than heading to The Retreat. We arrived around 5:15pm to several cheers from my friends crowded around a table at the front of the pub. Straight away, we were advised by the landlady to move to the rear of the pub, to a bigger table. We did so and I have to confess I was rather lame with any of the introductions but sometimes it is better for people to just introduce themselves. It was good to see Barry again, the Reading Festival seemed like a long long time ago. He was on top form and asked that I not open my birthday card until Pav had come back to our table with some drinks. This goes against my own policy of only opening cards and birthday gifts on my actual birthday itself. I let such formalities drop by the wayside, well maybe just this once. It was good to see Ben and Charlie also out, I had not seen them both since the fateful Beer Festival back in early May. There was only time for a round or three and I was playing catch up. Pav booked a taxi for 6:10pm and we were now against the clock.

The party at The Retreat had been scheduled to start at 2pm, but I discovered nobody had got to the public house until an hour later. That is still no excuse that they were then waiting another two hours for my entrance. I got a series of abusive text messages from Pav, asking me to get my act together and the punishment was severe. In the end, I decided it was best just to get the punishment out of the way. It was only later in the evening (as we were about to get seated at the restaurant) that Pav revealed it was to be twice as bad. I thought it best to just catch up and take my forfeit like a man. Job done!

Ben and Charlie left for The Hexagon (they were going to see Ed Byrne with our friend Geoff) and we headed out soon afterwards, walking back to Pav and Em’s house but the taxi had already arrived, and I rushed to check it was for us and jumped inside. Meanwhile Preeti and Em had headed into the house to get something. A cake and what else? A present? As she entered the taxi, the box fell and a few pressies hit the pavement. Pav rescued them but it was the wrapping paper which was most intriguing but difficult to see clearly in the street light. The paper consisted off a collage of photographs from Reading Festival, mainly of Barry and myself but there were other funny images of the rest of the group over the three day weekend. It was a very clever idea and I wondered what gifts were in store as we made our way over to Caversham.

Some people headed to the cash point at the Tesco Express petrol station but the rest of us headed into the Spice Oven. It had changed a little since my last visit which was just under a year ago. My friends, Kev, Duen, Sazzle and Phil were waiting and we greeting them before being sent across to our table. Barry took the seat at the head of the table, as you would expect. The only couple we were waiting for now was Div and Nige but as they were making their way back from London. In the end, under Emily’s suggestion we ordered as it was going to be a while until they arrived and it best we just got on, several people were hungry. Boys will be boys, particularly when it comes to a hot tongue burning curries. Last time around, I went for the jalfrezi, but this time I was egged on to take it up a level to the hottest curry in the house, the infamous xacuti. It was extremely hot! Now once again, this was just a crazy thing for me to do. What most of my friends do not know (and neither does the public at large) is that I am not a fan of spicy food whatsoever. (Yes I know know, going completely against my Indian roots and Punjabi heritage). Even the smallest hint of spice in food at home puts me off. Therefore my Mum never makes me spicy food, my taste buds just cannot take it! However, being in the testosterone filled hell pot of Saturday evening, I was not going to be outdone, even though most of the food remained on the plate, rather than go anywhere near my mouth. Div and Nige did arrive at some stage and handed me my birthday card! They ordered their food just before our mains had arrived, so could not have timed it better. After the food, it was time for desert in the form of a birthday cake. I had been expected a standard birthday cake from Tesco, nothing fancy or special! Pav had filled me in on some of the arrangements via MSN earlier in the week. I was not expecting this. One of the classic photographs from Reading had been superimposed onto the cake, along with a phrase. The phrase had been broadcast by BT at Reading but also on MSN and Facebook. “I Got 2T’s Coming From Over Seas”.

2TOpen Wide...

Barry came and sat next to me and I said that we should cut the cake together, just as if we were a married couple cutting our wedding cake. Obviously BT takes the notion a step too far on his blog with a mock up photograph of me as a mail order bride, complete with red bindi. I suppose I should be grateful, there are worse photographs available of me on the fan page. After the cake had been dished out and Sazzle dealt with the bill (collecting all the money and working out the cost per a head via an iPhone) it was time to head out. I was disappointed that Nige, Div, Phil and Sazzle were not coming into town. Duen was not feeling well, so she had headed back to her flat, which met Kev was free to stay out and play. We walked into town, Pav and me lingering a little behind the rest of the group, as I had wanted to say goodbye to Div and Nige outside the Spice Oven. I have no recollection of Emily being almost run over by a Vauxhall Corsa (as mentioned in BT’s blog). We regrouped outside Revolution but once Emily found out the entrance fee of £5 she turned around and headed back out and I did the same. We then headed into town towards Bar Sakura, I had put our names on the guest list but as it was after 10pm, it was the same price as Revolution. To stop any arguments, I paid for entry but Pav then warned me that I should wait as some people did not have identification. In the end, the only person without ID was Emily and they let her in any ways. We went through to the bar downstairs as upstairs did not open until a bit later. It was busy and we got in a round and waited by the front window before going upstairs when it opened about ten minutes later. Upstairs we (or rather the boys I should rephrase) were disappointed that the pole on the dance floor had been removed. This was it, the start of the party. Although it took a while for the party to get going. The girls went for a boogie on the dance floor which lights up. In the end I would not even step foot on the dance floor, instead making my own area by the table we had congregated by. Emily was not impressed with my moves, but then what is new? Just after midnight, we had all decided to head to the terrace for some fresh air but in BT’s case for a fag, and Emily said what we were all thinking, it was indeed time to go home. A great birthday weekend, and I am sure both BT and PK are already scheming on the next 2T event, whenever that may be.

I got back from Reading just after 5.30pm, to find both my parents asleep on the sofa and the heating turned up full blast. I put the heating down and then had a few hours window to catch up on the Saturday night television I had missed. There was of course Harry Hill’s TV Burp and then The X Factor (although I watched the show as quickly as possible by watching the performances and hearing the judges comments before skipping through all the filler material from Dermot). By then it was time for dinner and The X Factor Results show. I opted to record Top Gear and MOTD2 (having discovered the 9-1 score line from the Spurs game) and watched Idiocracy. You may not know the film, but it has a cult following (hence my friend MightyMouse would have downloaded it). There were two reasons for me to watch it, firstly it stars my favourite Wilson brother, Luke and is directed by Mike Judge who brought us the fantastic Office Space. It was good not brilliant but then I did not expect too much. Some of the ideas for the future world were clever though!

My birthday was a rather uneventful day but I like it that way. I got up, applied for jobs as usual, opened various birthday cards when they arrived with the post at lunchtime. Had a birthday call from my Dad and my Aunty in India. In the evening, my sister brought home takeaway and we watched Eastenders together (for the first time in months) while enjoying the lovely food. Afterwards it was time for my birthday cake, made to order with the Arsenal crest in the middle. It tasted very good and I have to say I was very full after all the food. I felt quite tired, particularly after such a heavy weekend and could have gone straight to sleep but stayed up to watch some television and generally just bum around online.

The week became eventful from Tuesday onwards. My Mum got a puncture in the 308 and I had to go and get the tyre replaced. This would have been an easy job but due to misplacing the master locking wheel nut, it turned into a crazy mission. I got a quote from Kwik Fit and then contacted Bracknell Tyre & Battery and knew they could do a better deal (almost half price). However, I did not have their number in my mobile. I tried to call Pav but he was not available, so I had to drive home and Google their number. I had to Tweet and Facebook my frustration at my best friend not being available on call, when he expects me to be constantly available on MSN during the working day. I then headed over to Bracknell and waited for the tyre to be changed, the queue was only a few cars deep. However, it was only at this point I learnt about the missing nut so I had to contact PK again and get him to Google the nearest Peugeot dealership to my current location, which was Wokingham. I called them and when I eventually explained what I needed, they explained to me the dilemma. The locking wheel nut was unique to the car and could not be reordered without the code (which is only listed on the top of the nut itself). The only way around this was to force the nut off and buy a new locking kit (later I realised that this would mean having to do the same for each wheel). All this security so nobody runs off with your alloys. In the end, I just had the new tyre put on the allow and headed home. I was going to call Charter and Platts locally and see what they could do. It was going to be a £100 job and take a few hours. I let the decision rest with my Dad. At 4.30pm, I headed up to the BP garage in Marlow, where the puncture had occurred and the spare put on by some good samaritan. Armed with a torch, I checked the area but could not find a trace of the nut. I went inside to speak to the cashier but he was as useful as a empty jerry-can I tried to explain what I had lost but it was affirmative no, so I left and headed home with my sister Julie. It was only when I returned from seeing a friend later that evening that I found the nut lying on the coffee table in the lounge. My Dad had visited the same garage and thankfully the nut had been handed in and when my Dad spoke to someone that actually had a command of the English language he was able to get the nut.

On Wednesday I headed to National, down the road to get the tyre fitted. It was suppose to cost £15.50 but the manager let me have it fitted for free. I think it was more so because he was busy and could not be bothered to wait to process my payment. As I drove back to ASDA petrol station (to check all the tyre pressures) before handing the car back to my Mum at work. I was listening to Johnny Walker on BBC Radio 2. I am slowly drifted to listening to the station more and more, I suppose just a sign I am getting older. It was about four minutes after 10am, so it must have been the first song played after the news. The song was excellent and had a very 1980s early electronic feel to it. It is one of those rare occasions when someone’s vocals suit both the lyrics and melody of the song. The lyrics themselves are extremely moving and poetic. Fireflies by Owl City is excellent and I am keen to take a listen to their album Ocean Eyes. Please go and check out the music video.

What else have I been up to this week? Nothing major really, caught up with my television shows, which midweek are just The Big Bang Theory and Heroes. As a family we now all sit down to watch The Family on Channel 4 at 9pm on Wednesday evenings. It is hilarious! Particularly following their appearance on TV Burp the previous Saturday. I have however a very interesting point to make about television. As I tend to be on a heavy diet of US television, I am usually weeks if not months (as in the case of Heroes) ahead of the UK screening of shows. However, in the case of FlashForward and Fringe they are both shown a few days after their US counterparts (on Five and Sky1 respectively). Even so I would still download the shows on a Friday and watch them at my leisure over the course of the weekend. So you can imagine my surprise to not find the shows listed on EZ TV this morning. I was not the only one, as I did a little search on Twitter. missybelly was also looking forward to the two shows. It was only later that I thought to check the episode guides on Wikipedia that the bombshell it me. For the first time (to my knowledge) not one but two US television shows were to be screened on UK television several days prior to the US! Please let me know if this ever happened before. Sure it does occur the other way around, for example Doctor Who is shown here weeks before it is shown on BBC America but that is understandable, it is a UK (or should I say Welsh) show. Fringe therefore will be on shown on Sunday evening and the mid season FlashForward finale on Monday evening. I will Sky+ them both but will still download the files to ensure my television series collections are complete. You never know when I might get a tweet from Sippy for me to burn the series to DVD and post up to Brum!

Plans for the weekend? Well rather low key in comparison to last weekend. Tomorrow night I am going to Pinewood Studios, which will hopefully be more successful than my previous visit in April. They have been hosting the Drive In movies for a few weeks now and I have a ticket to see Notting Hill. I have not seen the movie before, so it should be a fun evening, experiencing cinema the traditional American way! I just wonder if there will be cinema advertising from Pearl & Dean. Hold up, let me just tweet the question to them direct!

Pinewood Drive In

Sunday will be a lazy day and I am looking forward to two football derbies in the afternoon. Oh and I might start on my next project for this blog, converting it over to WordPress. Pav and Barry do have a point, it would be been good to have registered followers and also give people the ability to read posts in their favourite RSS News Reader. It is not going to be an easy two minute job, but I am currently exploring the possibilities with my current hosting provider, 123-Reg. Hope you all have a great weekend, enjoy the last weekend of November!

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