May 31, 2005

Strange, but I'm feeling fine

Today has been a pretty good day all round really. Got up early, got to work early, the road works on the way are almost finished. Its been sunny and there's been some fun work to do. Got to go up in a cherry picker and test lots of steelwork connections, which is always fun, despite all the harness jokes that inevitable arise. Finished pretty much on time and had a smooth ride home and a relatively easy trek round Sainsbury's. What more can I ask really?

This is quite surprising as I had a fairly crazy night on Sunday which turned out to be rather good fun. Ended up drinking beer (and a few other things), watching DVD's and playing cards from late evening till about 0530 on Monday morning. Had a reasonable hangover all things considered: Best part of a case of stella, a bottle of port, a bottle of whiskey and some Estonian vodka. Strangely this all occurred as Ed was having Almost the best day of his life so far and was also staying up rather late. Coincidence? Perhaps, perhaps not :-S

All I can hope now is that tomorrow will be as good as today was. I have a little experiment to run this week and I'll let you know the outcome next wednesday. If it works I think things could be on the up and up!

Posted by Russ at 08:58 PM | Comments (0)

May 29, 2005

A few more... and then some

Yep, ended up going into town and having "several". Ended up all over the shop, think I must have walked about 4 miles. Managed 2 night clubs too, one decent, the other was Baja's. Ok but I mean really NOT my scene. Decided to clean up the flat today as its been turning into a bit of a tip what with courses and reports and the like. And to be fair, yes I have been being a bit lazy recently. This has basically involved me tackling a large pile of washing, both of the clothing and the dish type. As well as clearing all the shite out of the lounge and doing a bit of filing. So not the most thrilling weekend ever, but there is still tomorrow to go. Have to say I love bank holidays :-).

Posted by Russ at 10:37 PM | Comments (0)

May 27, 2005

Back to work

Ah! back to some kind of normality today, though I've never had so many people ask me if I'd enjoyed the course?! Things don't appear to have changed too much from when I left. Very much same shit different day, but still nice to come back to. Tunnel form, tunnel forming. Bricks being laid etc... Went for a quick sly one after work again, this time there was a bit more of a posse mind. Always good fun, problem is it gets me in the mood for beer, which means I'l be going into town tonight for "a couple" more ;-)

Ah well, bring on the European GP, michael appears to be going well in practice so fingers crossed for a podium or with a little bit of luck a victory! Enjoy the three days off people, god knows what I'll get up to, but I know it'll be good.

Posted by Russ at 04:33 PM | Comments (0)

May 26, 2005

1st Aider

Well I've survived and passed my 4 day 1st aid course. This now means I'm qualified to dress injuries, give mouth to mouth etc... Not that I fancy giving mouth to mouth to anyone on site, think I might be using the face shield provided for that one! Course has been interesting, usual gruesome pics and stories of death from stupidity galore. Its also tested my acting skills (which suck) as half of the time I've had to be a casualty for my partner. The tests at the end were a bit nervey, but apparently I did nothing wrong.

Did manage time out last night to witness the miraculous escape Liverpool managed in the champions league. 3-0 down at half time, what a come back and then the tension of a penalty shoot out! Anne Robinson eat your heart out! Then elevate the wound, bandage and compress and call an ambulance ;-)

Went to a gig monday night and saw Captain Everything, who were amazing as usual. May have had a few beers at the same time and knew about it the following morning as I was a little slow on the uptake of certain types of slings. Was generally a busy gig though and there was a surprising amount of ladies present, especially for Newcastle.

Other than that this week has been spent polishing off another quarterly report for tomorrow, when I'm due back at work. OH HOW I'LL MISS THE LIE IN!

Posted by Russ at 04:21 PM | Comments (0)

May 22, 2005

Weekend! What Weekend?

This weekend hasn't really been much of one. After receiving a rather stupid email on Thurday afternoon requiring me to complete a report for next wednesday, any time off was just a joke. I mean what kind of a person give you 5 days, of which only 3 are working to complete something. Suggests to me that someone needs to look at their time management. Don't get me wrong, its not like its impossible to do, just I'll have to work over the weekend. Also its not like I dont ahve other things to be doing, such as ICE quarterly reports and work/training courses. I mean that is what they pay me for right? Anyways, that coupled with what I'd describe as a rather personal survey that I had to complete online have now set my opinion on this development program! Mind you I shall go to the courses with an open mind, might learn something, or teach them a thing or two, you never know! Like acceptable response times...

Did manage some fun on Friday night, went out got battered, played pool. Heaven help me this may become a regular thing, and I knwo my liver is gonna hate me for that! Finally managed to make it to see Starwars too. Have to say its the best film I've seen in a while and ties up the saga nicely. Its quite a dark film, but not as far as the Empire Strike Back, which still has to take the crown. Would reccomend it to anyone who is umming and ahhing over whether to go or not, just make it a late showing so its not full of kids.

The GP proved to be dissapointing again, with Schumy lucky to get 2 points, though it was a nice move on Rubens on the last lap. Am I being cynical though in thinking that there might be some dodgy team orders at play there though? Or will it be the usual excuse of "spongey brakes" ? Have to say I'm getting quite distraught with Bridgestone, WILL THEY SORT OUT THE TYRES!!! Nice as it is to see Michael drive his socks off every weekend, I'd like to see him back on the podium soon, and preferable the top step. But any of you out there thinking I'm a glory supporter and will be abandoning my man will be sadly mistaken. Just looks like 1998/1999 all over again. Bring on the 2nd half of the season fight back and the thrilling finale, thats what I say.

Well a course all this week on 1st aid, so should be interesting. At least I'll be able to attempt to save dying people by the end of the week, but not sure how good I'll be! I'm guessing it'll be practicing on dummies and lots of videos, woohoo! Give me concrete and peg bashing over that any day!

Posted by Russ at 11:49 PM | Comments (0)

May 19, 2005

Covered In Bees!!!

Had a drastically bad day today. Knew things did not bode well when traffic made me late. I then arrived to find a wagon loading a portacabin parked at the site entrance, meaning I couldn't get to my parking space. Yes I do have my own, with a name on it and everything! So then parked on the temporary car park across the way, only to be told by a digger driver that I couldn't park there either. Grrr! Then had to go right up the road to find a space and walk far to far to start work, knowing that I'd have to do this in reverse at the end of the day.

Work this morning was poor, to say the least. Why is it that when you try to do something, that NEEDS doing, you are always pestered and asked to do other, apparently urgent things? This wasn't aided by the fact that the problem I went to solve, had already been solved ages ago and just not fixed. So all I got was people getting annoyed at me because there was a problem. Useful! Whats even more irritating is that the problem I'd been called away to fix was directly related to the work I NEEDED to do. In fact, the work I NEEDED to do was being done to circumvent problems in this exact area in future! Suffice to say I achieved it in the afternoon, but its only one third of the work that needs doing, and in the meantime the list has just been growing.

There was however, some great entertainment in the afternoon. A queen bee decided to nest on a control board by our mortar silos and was promptly surrounded by (and I'm not kidding!) about 10000 bees. It was very funny to see about 20 builders standing a good 20 yards away looking on with worried faces. The council was called to remove them and a one man army turned up, complete with bee suit! His tactics of tipping them into a box (with ventilation for all you animal lovers)was quite amusing. He then sealed it and cut a hole in so all the bees left outside (who are very pissed off at this point) could get back to the queen. I have to say, it was a serious number of bees, and not something I would have tackled without the right gear! Some people took photos and if I can get my hands on them and call Ed to figure out how to post them I'll put some on the blog.

On another note, traffic this evening was strangely quiet. Home from work in 22 minutes, thats less than 5 songs off the ipod. Why can't it be like that all the time? Oh, and the countdown to Starwars has started!

Posted by Russ at 08:14 PM | Comments (0)

May 18, 2005

Holiday! It Would Be So Nice!

Well, looks like I'm off on holiday later on this year with some rather interesting company! Should be booked in the next week or so. Off to spain for some lazy summer sun, beers and a general all round good time ;-)

Today has been ok in all. Still feeling a bit tired, but hey, on the run in to the weekend now, so thats half the battle won. Still haven't booked a Starwars ticket yet, but might do it after I;ve posted this, or at work tomorrow. And just in case my boss ever reads this, don't worry, I'll do it on my lunch break! 99% of the Steel is up at work and the last section of the superstructure starts tomorrow. Feel like its all slowly coming together now. Its just all getting a bit repetative because of the systematic nature of the project. Though that said some novel and cool problems/solutions raised their heads today. Shall be looking forward to what happens next on them.

Found some old pictures (circa 1994!) that I got from holiday then whilst I was rummaging about tonight. Have decided to get them framed and try to theme the study to some degree. This means I'll have two themed rooms in the house out of a possible four (I'm not counting the kitchen and bathroom, they should just be appropriately clean!). Will have to think of something to do with the dinning room and the bedroom and then I'll be there!

Anyways, Thursday evening ramble over, I'm off to go look at exciting things I can do on holiday! Oh! and to work on my six-pack so I can show it off by the pool!

Posted by Russ at 09:37 PM | Comments (0)

May 17, 2005

Remedial Day!

Not someone elses this time, but mine! Just one of those days where I appeared to leave the brain at home. Got the wrong day for a meeting, though the email was less than clear, so had to sit in traffic for 45 minutes to get back home, which didn't help my mood after being pissed off about getting the wrong day! Also been doing horrible paperwork at work, will have to have an outside day tomorrow, feeling rather caged at the moment. Think this may be the reason for my current mood, that and the lack of sleep!

The previously mentioned holiday sagahas progressed somewhat, but not to the stage where I'm willing to tell the world yet, maybe tomorrow if all goes well?! But the location and timing may have been resolved, just a couple of other details to sort and we're there!

On the positive side of things, I shifted the pile of ironing, since I wasn't at the meeting, now its back to occupying the table, but it looks slightly neater and I have stuff to wear tomorrow. Also STARWARS is out on Thursday, will have to get my ticket booked! The question is... Which seat to have for the rediculous late showing I'm going to to avoid all the kids that are bound to go and totally unappreciate it?

The BBC also has its new weather symbols out. Haven't seen them in full animated action yet, but then its hard to when I haven't seen the news in the last 2 days! Seems odd that they haven't changed the one on the web, you'd think that'd be easier than the ones on the TV to change since you'd have to program the computer to do those anyway!

Suppose I best sign off and look for my brain, will be needing it tomorrow or I may end up suicidal at my own stupidity!

Posted by Russ at 11:19 PM | Comments (2)

May 16, 2005


Sorry, been ages since I posted. Been somewhat busy. So... Whats new?

Still haven't worked out how to post my pics, will have to give a ring me thinks, but I'll get there. Learning to do that is right up there with the learning of VB that I'm meant to be doing for work. But on that note have made friends with 2 computer programmers who live in the flat below, so shouldn't be too difficult!

Survived some school kids from some of the scuttiest backgrounds imaginable last wednesday, suffice to say I think most of them will be in a doll queue near here soon. Keep your eys peeled for girls in pink tracksuits and lads in burberry caps or hoodies. And on that banning hoodies is quite rediculous, do you see what you've voted in now?! Next thing we'll all be asked to wear stars on our arms, or what ever symbol they decide is appropriate for anyone who might, maybe, possibly be a suspected terrorist! Grrr!

Thursday was another work day, which at the moment aren't too bad. Friday involved a course which was the usual powerpoint, with audience input. As usual I failed to keep my mouth shut, but the company was fairly decent. In fact for a construction training course, positively eyecandy! Friday ended with a sly pint in Durham before the drive home, which just set the ball rolling...

Knocked on flat below, proposed drinking. Got drinking, pool and KRASH! Not an accident, but a rather good rock club (well the only) in Newcastle. Suffice to say visits may have to become slightly more frequent, but at least it will give me something to do on weekends now, that doesn't involve the dreaded R&B! All this did however lead to the inevitable hangover on Saturday. This meant yet another weekend passed with me failing to get a haircut. DOH! Will manage it next weekend, promise. Either that or I might see how far I can grow it before it pisses me off. Though what with my reputation for crazy hair cuts god only knows what'll happen!

Sunday was fun. My Step-brother-in-law came to see Chelsea vs Newcastle, so met up with him for brunch, followed by more beer when the pubs opened. This lead to me being gently inebriated to say the least and having to have a little kip on the afternoon. How close to 60 do I feel now?! Was good to catch up though and get interesting viewpoints/advice on stuff. Which I guess takes us to... Today!

Usual Monday morning blues, not aided by a poor nights sleep, hit rock bottom when my boss entered the room saying:

Mark: "We have a problem!"
Me: "What?"
Mark "A wall on block 1 is wobbling"

This is obviously not a good thing for a wall thats part of a 4 storey building thats under construction! It is rather ammusing though as you can push it with your finger and watch it sway about 30mm at the top and then swing back. Not bad for a structure most people assume is fairly static. However, can't see the eventual residents being too happy when they lean on a wall and it collapses right in front of them! So... The fools who designed it have been reprimanded (again) and asked to develop a solution, though I think we already have one or two ourselves, but they ain't paying us for that. Thats why we pay them!

Tomorrow brings another poor outlook on the weather front, another civils meeting and I still haven't done that pile of shirts that need ironing. Oh and I have an ongoing holiday saga, I may write about soon, that took an interesting twist this evening! Stayed tuned for further info...

Posted by Russ at 10:20 PM | Comments (0)

May 10, 2005


Oh and a while back I found this whilst out motoring with Helen, Sam and Anna! I found it rather ammusing!

Posted by Russ at 09:25 PM | Comments (1)

CITB/ICE/SETPOINT will the abbreviations ever end?

A rather dull day, even by my standards. I need a new challenge at work! Setting out tunnel form has become rather boring! Steel erectors are foolish as normal, I jsut wish they'd listen rather than having to be told 4 times to do something, then not doing it because its hard and they'll have to undo what they've already done. All I can say is "if they'd listened in the first place".

My committee meeting tonight went well. Managed to make some good contacts and also understand more of what is going on in the ICE, as well as getting a say now. If anyone listens, thats a different matter. I did get the feeling that I was one of the more dynamic people in the room, but then thats what happens when engineers gather, always promised myself I'd at least attempt to stay vaguely interesting! Made some good points and got some useful info, will have to see where the next meeting takes us, but at least I dont have too much work to do for it all! On the bonus side I wasn't the only new person which kind of helped as it meant that I didn't look like a fool when I wasn't saying much on things. Overall they appear to be a nice enough bunch, will have to drag them down the pub and find out if they have personalities or not.

Other than that, the days been fairly uneventful and on that note it'll continue to be, as I'm quiting whilst I'm ahead. School kids to deal with tomorrow for CITB, so I'm guessing I'll be needing the sleep to up my patience threshold!

Posted by Russ at 09:17 PM | Comments (0)

May 09, 2005


What a weekend!!! Cracking from the time I left work to when I got home! Not only were the roads traffic free, my navigator had GPS like accuracy (proof that brains are better than chips any day of the week). Hotel was more than acceptable and reccommended a fairly decent restaurant in "town" (if you can call a place you can drive through in under a minute that) on the Friday. An early start on the saturday, more great navigation and we were at Alton Towers.

12 rides in the day in all and I think the longest queue was just under an hour, which by previous experience is pretty good. Nemesis and Air are still awesome, and I'd forgotten how good Oblivion was. Got right to the point where they stop you at the top and thought... This is a bit pants... Ah, no, there it is! Hex is still a laugh if you're with someone who ahs no idea whats comming, they've destroyed the haunted house with the addition of ray guns (don't ask!) and if I get any taller I won't fit on teh runaway mine train. Gave the rapids and the log flume a miss as the weather wasn't what I'd describe as warm (well, not even tepid), but there were only a few showers and it is May so I can't really complain. Which brings me to the new ride... Rita, Queen of speed. And OH YES it is! Spinball Wizard was another 1st for me, a 4 car thing that spins as it goes round the track. All I can say is its a little violent, but going sideways round bends is novel.

Imagine a rollercoaster that starts off on the flat, no hill, then runs through a series of banked bends and back to the start. Its all set around an american nascar type race theme right down to the start lights. You sit in the car watching the light sequence, then you get catapulted (literally, its something similar to what they use on aircraft carriers) from 0-62mph in 2.5 seconds! Everyone got off the ride gobsmaked. Not just me, the whole train was just awestruck! I think my organs are just about back where they belong after the excessive G's. It would also appear that the bends on the track are only there to slow you down, but trust me they're still good. Possibly the fastest rollercoaster I've been on!

Sadly, after all the fun its been back to normal today. Though had an odd experience at Sainsbury's. Its been on the cards for a while since chip and pin arrived. You get the pin code machine bit with the card slot and some shops want you to put the card in and others want the card off you so they can put it in (obviously in case you're a remedial and can't manage it! Today I handed my card over to have it handed back to me and be told to put it in the slot (all puns welcome as it was a female cashier). Suffice to say this isn't the customer service I'm used to. No doubt when I try this elsewhere it'll be the other way round! Wish someone, namely banks or the useless government that we have (AGAIN!) would put some kind of guidance out there as at the moment it all depends which shop you're in. As a bit of a side note I'm sure by now you can only use pin by law, but there are loads of places that still only have the technology that allows you to sign (good old human eyes), another delayed country wide rollout I fear.

Word of warning, a busy week beckons in the evenings, meeting tomorrow with the ICE committee that I managed to somehow get involved in. FIngers crossed it goes well!

Posted by Russ at 10:45 PM | Comments (0)

May 05, 2005

Election Fever!

Election night! My vote has already been cast, via post, so now doubt someone will tamper with it, but in Gateshead I dont think my vote will count for much as its a bit of a labour stronghold, to say the least! Have decided not to stay up and watch the coverage for too long trying to keep it a surpirse, though as I write Sunderland South is just sending in the 1st result!!!

BAR have been banned for 2 races so the GP I'm going to miss is looking rather controvertial already, all I can hope is that this means more points for my lovely reds! Hoping the weather will be good over the weekend for my afore mentioned trip to alton towers. Have managed to wangle leaving work a touch early so I can at leat attempt to beat the traffic for the first leg of the journey, but probably not all of it! THen comes the joy of AA directions and getting totally lost, though I'm kinda hoping that my navigator will get me out of that. We shall see. This will of course lead to a total lack of posts over the weekend, sorry guys. :-(

On the house side the roof still hasn't been fixed as far as I know, but then the property managers may not have been told. Me thinks a phone call will be required tomorrow, they must be getting sick of me by now!

Have also now had to start avoiding Starwars adverts and trailers because I dont wanna see anything about it till I actually see it. THis means a lot of annoying and frantic channel hopping during adverts which invariably leads to me missing the start of the next bit of the programme I was watching, really must get myself to the cinema as soon as possible. Might attempt to get some people together and make a trip of it if I can.

Other than that the 4 day week has been tiring, but productive. Surviving without a member of the team is do-able, but I dont fancy it in the long term! Managed to say no to someone asking for help today, which is very rare, mainly cos I was busy, not just cos I'm mean! So he sent he boss to ask me the same question! The answer I might add, didn't change! In my defence it would have been a favour and something that isn't in my job description anyway, someone else is contracted for that.

So as I sign off, if you see a red focus, get out of the way, I'm probably looking at road signs, not where i'm driving!

Posted by Russ at 10:51 PM | Comments (0)

May 03, 2005

Oops! Been Ages!

Haven't posted for ages! Not failed in my attempts to keep the blog updated, just been rather busy. Working FAR too much, even did the saturday of the bank holiday. This basically involved babysitting sub-contractors and drinking rather a lot of tea, but hey there's always the overtime pay. Mind you I would have rather been in bed!

Dropped in on the parentals as mum's had an operation on her knee. Suffice to say the grewsome details include scabbling the kneecap to make it grow scar tissue etc... All things you don't want to hear over dinner like I did! Why is it that people always pick the most inappropriate moments to say things like that? Oh good, your just tucking into your sunday roast, wanna hear about how much pain I'm in/all the mess involved in my op? NOT REALLY NO!

Though I can sympathise to some degree, it does look pretty swollen and she cant walk on it for two weeks. I pity my stepdad who's going to be run into the ground waiting on her hand and foot. I'm sure I remember the good old days when my mum was hard and uttered unforgettable phrases such as "you're not sick, now get to school!". And lets not forget that this is the same woman who made my sister walk round on a broken foot for 2 weeks, then finally took her to casualty! Or the time I had such bad tonsilitis that I ended up hallucinating and the doctor telling her that I should ahve been brought in a week ago... Do I get the feeling of a double standard as she takes 3 weeks off work? Fairly sure I was told she could walk on it in 2? All this and she's planning on skiing next year! :-S

On the up side, finally got a new back door key! Hurrah! now I have a back garden I've never seen before, and now wish I never had. It requires a days work and a trip to the tip me thinks! Will mean that I can have summer BBQ's now though :-) It may also explain why the roof is leaking, as there are at least 3 roof tile smashed to bits there, so I think there may be a rather big hole somewhere. Though I have been promised the roofers will be out this week, but they said that last week and progress has been non-existent, and thats being generous!

Seems very odd. The roof leaking is only a problem when its raining, obviously. Yet in bad weather, the roofers can't come fix it! Now in a country where it reains what seems like 80% of the time this has gotta be a problem! I'm just glad that its leaking into the bath, or I'd have to be comming home at lunch to change a bucket or something!

Giving up the GP this weekend, will be the first one of the season I miss, but the idea of a weekend at alton towers is almost as good. Throw in the company and obviously I'm there! Will be needing the break as people are on holiday at work, so my workload is a bit more than usual, made the day go nice and quickly though. Three more of them and it'll be fun time again. Will try and keep the posts more regular, mainly as these take too long to write and by now you've got bored if you've read all this way!

Advice for the day is, if you're going to do something, do it properly, so other people can use it. ALL ARCHITECTS TAKE NOTE!

Posted by Russ at 10:50 PM | Comments (0)