Friday, 16 December 2011

a week to go

Wow, it's only a week until I go on holiday and then a couple of extra days and it's Christmas.

As I mentioned before I'm quite looking forward to it this year and the news there's less than a week to go is very pleasing.

I've pretty much done all my Christmas shopping now.  A few things are still to arrive, but all should be here by the time I go away.  If not, it's not a disaster, as I can just post those bits that don't arrive in time.

I'm hoping we don't see a repeat of the snow we had over the last few years.  Fundamentally I like snow, but it's best when it happens when you yourself don't have to get anywhere or do anything.

Or, even better, when it snows you in from work.  Although that always has the difficulty of knowing when it's safe to go back.  It's best when it knackers you mid-week, but then goes away over the weekend.

I sort of sympathise with those who moan about how the country grinds to a halt when it snows, but I can fully understand why.  I mean, yes we've had a few years in a row of bad snow, but then we could easily have five or ten years of really mild winters, so spending loads of money on gritters and ploughs and stuff would then be seen as wasteful.

The best compromise idea seems to me to be the suggestion that farmers be provided with ploughing equipment that they can easily store and then they're brought in when it does snow to clear the roads.  Not sure how much that would cost, though.

Anyway, plans for the weekend are to try to clear the decks of some domestic stuff ahead of the break, so that when I'm on holiday I can spend more time relaxing, rather than fiddling about with that sort of stuff.

I'm also planning to do a bit of cleaning and washing - this'll be two weeks in a row and I think I might need to make it weekly over winter, as the colder weather means I wear more clothes (jumpers and vests and stuff).

Thursday, 15 December 2011

noises of the night

I mentioned before that when I got back I'd had a radiator installed and that necessitated a move of my bed across to the other side of the room.  Now that actually sounds a lot more spectacular than it was - it was actually a move of about 1.5 metres.

However, it did mean I was now closer to a different window compared to where I was before and so it took me a while to get used to sleeping in this position.  They reckon it can take up to three days to get used to sleeping in a different bed, but I don't know if the same applies to moving your bed.

Anyway, point is that I felt a bit disjointed for a while and I'm still not operating at 100% smoothness after the change.

And that's when the noise started.

Initially I thought it was a reflection of the aforementioned change - I was now closer to a different window, so there was perhaps a change in noises.  In particular the noise was a bit like the dull roar you get from traffic noise even through double glazing.

However, it was too constant in tone and volume to be traffic noise.

I then tried simply opening my window - it sounded a bit like the noise my air conditioner makes so I thought maybe someone had a heater going outside.  No, I don't understand my thinking either - I think I was perhaps wondering if it was maybe a set of temporary traffic lights that were run from a  generator, something like that maybe?

But when I opened my windows there was a really weird effect where it was almost drowned out by the general background noise.  In other words, it was louder inside with the windows closed than outside.

I therefore then investigated the actual radiator itself - was it perhaps making a noise?

Not as far as I could tell.

So I left it - the noise was there, but it wasn't too loud and I often wear ear plugs to bed anyway, so I could resurrect that practice.

And then I discovered the cause when I went for my walk, and it's a weird one.

Basically, the Farnham Rugby club has a built a new ground and associated with it is a big building.  One of these fitness places is on the same site, so I assume the big building is mainly a gym, but with a few bars and stuff for the rugby club.

Well, as I was walking along with my ear buds in early Sunday morning I could here the same noise I hear at night.  I took my ear buds out and there it was - horrendously loud and coming from the direction of this big building.  However, it was really foggy, so I couldn't really see where it was, so I wandered down to investigate.

There's a dirt path that goes behind the facility along the edge of the fence and I walked along there until I got right behind it and discovered this horrendously loud fan-like noise.  Given the correlation with my air conditioner, my guess is that's what it is, though why they need to run a huge air conditioner all night in the middle of November I haven't a clue.

What I think is actually happening is that the noise is being carried up to where I live (which is about half a mile away) and, because of the particular frequency of the noise, it is getting through my double glazing and then bouncing off the side of the inset part for the window and being reflected back to where I sleep.

In other words it's rather a conflagration of circumstances.

Hopefully they've just been running it over night for a particular reason, though what that could be and why so many nights I don't know.

I also noted on my wander round they'd put some trees in, but they were tiny little starter trees and will likely take years to mature to the state of providing any kind of sound baffling.

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

fast and furious

I made a bit of a cock-up here.

See, I thought that fast and furious was the first film in this series, but it turns out that the fast and the furious is the first in the series, and fast and furious is the fourth.

I'm not sure when the trend of not simply giving sequels a number started, but Fast and Furious seems to be a chronic case.  The second film is 2 fast 2 furious, so that has numbers, but not in a normal way.  The third film appears to be The Fast and The Furious: Tokyo Drift, the there's Fast and Furious and then it goes Fast 5 and Fast 6.

Clearly the furiousness of the cast lessened as the cash rolled in over the series.  Also, I think Tokyo Drift is more like a spin-off than a film in the series proper, so it's all a bit confusing and hence my error, I guess.

I don't think it matters too much, though.  The plot for the film I watched was so simple as to be comparable with a child's crayon scrawled oeuvre.  I mean there's character baggage, sure, but it's so generic and easily understood, it barely needs explaining.

Obviously you can tell I thought the plot was bobbins, but then to be honest a good plot of a film like this is way down the list of what you should be expecting.  A film like this is all about the car action - chases, crashes, stunts, that sort of stuff.

In a way they're like giant cartoons, but only in so far as they're like poor cartoons.  Good cartoons have plots and good characters too.  No, what I mean is that they ignore stuff like physics and are a bit daft in a cartoony way.

And this film delivers to some degree on that.

If I'm honest there was a bit too much farting about with plot and character stuff and it could have done with a lot more of the action element.

Also a lot of the action was a bit too cartoony for me.  I could have done with less in the way of stupid stuff.

However, the thing I'd really complain about was the sound.  It was really difficult to hear the characters talking as they mostly seemed to mumble (or growl menacingly I think was meant to be the idea).  It could have been something wrong with the disc I guess, but the car bits where plenty load.

And that was the problem - I kept turning the sound up to hear what they were saying (or mumbling in a menacing / manly way if you insist) and then suddenly there's squealing tyres and the bending of fenders and blood is leaking out of my ears.

Also, the sound-track seemed pretty poor.  Half the thing of films like this is for the soundtrack to really compliment the action and I barely remember any of it.

So yeah, I don't think I'd really recommend it.  I am planning on watching the other films to see how they compare, though - who knows, perhaps coming in after 4 films does hamper the enjoyment, but I kinda doubt it.

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

turned out well

Well that was a good weekend.

And I don’t mean that with any sort of sarcasm - the weekend went well.

The work chrimbo lunch was okay.  We went to the same place as we did last year and I have to say the food itself wasn’t as good as last year.  It was okay, but it was better last year.

However, it was slightly marred by the fact I ended up sat next to someone who, well, they were nice and all, but they never stopped talking.  I mean, I’m obviously not the most talkative of people, but I know that, in order to have a conversation, you need to stop talking for a bit for others to say stuff.

Indeed, conversation is almost be definition about not talking in certain bits - if you do all the talking it’s a speech.  But this person didn’t seem to know that, and it became a bit boring a bit quickly.

Saturday I decided I would do a wash out of sequence, taking advantage of the lack of Grand Prix.  It should hopefully pay dividends next weekend where it’ll reduce the normal clothes amount so I can wash a couple of bits I’d like to before the Chrimbo holiday.

It was weirdly quiet in the laundrette.  I always go just as it’s opening and usually there’s a short bit where few others are in there, but then when I go there’s loads in there.  But this time there were a couple of us to start with and when I left I left one guy in there.

And that's not with machines going and people having left them - we were the only ones using machines at all.

The rest of the weekend went okay.  I was obviously still a bit coldly, so I wanted to take it easy in order to try to recover.  This went pretty well and by the end of Sunday I was staring to feel fairly normal.

Today I still seem to have a bit of snotty nose for some reason, but I’m not really suffering with the cold anymore.

And then yesterday of course I took the day off, with the intention of doing chrimbo shopping.

In reality I decided to buy most of it online.  I did look in shops but it was all more expensive (though surprisingly close in some places).  However, I did buy almost all the other bits I needed to - cards and wrapping paper for example.

Unfortunately it then turned out that one of the things I wanted to get wasn’t actually available for quick delivery online.  I’m crossing my fingers, but my guess is that I wont have it by Chrimbo.  It’s not too bad as I’ll have other stuff, so I can just give it to them afterwards, but it was a bit ironic as I’d seen it in one of the shops.

So yeah, a good weekend.  I even lost two pounds, despite the huge Chrimbo lunch!