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New houses next door

Since the summer the vacant plot next door to where I live has been a building site. We knew that it would probably become one at some point when we moved in, having noticed the vacant premium corner plot next door and having observed on Google Maps that up until recently it used to have a house on it, since demolished.

So sure enough, one random morning in August some men turned up with some noisy machines and started clearing the previously overgrown plot, in readiness for the construction of two new 5 bedroom houses on it. The six day per week early morning noise of this project is what I’ve been moaning about so much on Twitter recently. We couldn’t imagine how they would get two 5 bedroom houses on the plot but it turns out they both have three storeys, allowing smaller footprints.

My side bedroom window looks out upon this building site, which is chiefly why I have suffered so much with the noise. Angle grinders outside your window at 7.45am aren’t funny. Still, regardless of this, I was able to slowly observe the construction and I took a number of photos of key points of progress. Even though the houses aren’t complete, I cannot take any more than I already have because my vantage point is now completely blocked by the brick wall of the side of one of the houses.

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Salford IT and AV installation job complete

Rack installed in the basement with 3x 24 port patch panels. It eventually contain a switch, router, server and amplifier for the garden speaker system.

I spent last weekend in Manchester finally completing the first phase of the IT and AV installation job in Salford that I have been working on on-and-off since February. The last time I was there was in June when the project was at second fix stage. Since then the builders have made great progress and the owner of the house has moved back in, requiring me to finish my work in order that he can start to buy toys to plug into the system.

All that remained was the installation of a few final CAT6 face plates that I couldn’t install before (chiefly¬†because the walls on which they were to be installed didn’t yet exist back in June), the installation of the equipment rack in the plant room in the basement, and a complete test of all installed cables with a network cable test for the structured cabling and a multimeter for the home cinema cabling. Astonishingly, I’d made it to 35 years of age without buying a multimeter, which is something of an embarrassment for a geek, so presented with a genuine need for one I went out and bought one. A decent multimeter is only about ten quid. Regarding the structured cabling, out of 67 CAT6 cable runs, only three of them failed the initial test, which is a a good percentage for first test. They were quickly repaired and now all runs work perfectly.

These photos show the highlights of the work, since I’m obviously not going to post a picture of every single socket I installed. Apologies for the quality, they were taken with my iPhone (so, no flash) in artificial light during the evening.

Sockets in the "media room" behind where the home cinema equipment will be. The home cinema connections have their other ends at the appropriate places around the room. The hole in the plasterboard wasn't my fault and will be repaired by the builders!

The next stage is to consult on what my friend/client wants to buy to plug in to this impressive piece of infrastructure. Being a G.P., he doesn’t have much of a clue regarding electronics, hence asking for my help, but does know that he wants a pretty kick-arse system and so is willing to spend a bit on it. However, since his house is still essentially a building site, regardless of whether or not he’s living in it, I expect it’s going to be a fair few months before we get to go shopping.

It was an enjoyable weekend away from home back in Manchester. I’ve not been there since Manchester Pride and I used the opportunity to catch up with H and see Saw 3D, which I enjoyed but was a bit “more of the same”. I also don’t think it’ll be the last one, there’s still loose ends. Given my recent pattern of visits it’ll probably be another couple of months before I make it back.

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What’s your favorite city?

New York.

When I first went to New York I wasn’t a city-type person and the place scared the living shit out of me. I didn’t like it at all. It was big and very fucking scary and I really wasn’t comfortable there. It then didn’t help matters that I left the day before 9/11.

But then a couple of years later, after having moved to Manchester, I ended up there again, quite randomly in fact, and this time I really loved the place and I’ve been going back there whenever I can ever since. It’s an absolutely amazing place. Its scale, diversity, history and what it has to offer is breathtaking. Nothing in Europe even come close.

Ideally I would like to live and work there for a few years sometime during my life. I don’t want to spend forever there, because I don’t want to die young from the stress that it would inevitably bring eventually, but to have that experience I think would be a really fantastic thing to tick off my bucket list.

Decided to give Formspring a go. I will answer most questions but if you want to insult me then please do it to my face.

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Who was the best boss you’ve ever had?

My first boss. I think a lot of people would say the same thing as your first boss more often than not has a very important role in shaping the future of your career. A manager taking on someone who hasn’t had a ("proper") job before must taken on and embrace a very important mentor role, and if they don’t then they’re frankly not a very good boss.

I would like to think I’ve played a similar role on people who I’ve taken on under me in the past and I hope to continue to do so in the future. It’s as important to me that I do this as Mr. Sandeep Sharma was to me when I started working. I have endless respect for the man.

Decided to give Formspring a go. I will answer most questions but if you want to insult me then please do it to my face.

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Do you believe in angels?

I’m by no means a religious person whatsoever, I’m a scientist through and through. All I can process is 1s and 0s. However, I do believe in spirits. I lost my Mum 8 years ago to cancer and, although I’ve not been able to conclusively prove it, I do believe her spirit lives on, mainly in my cat, with whom I’m so in tune with and who looks after when when I’m upset and herself should have succumbed to a fatal illness when she was a kitten, but survived it. The vet couldn’t explain it. The logical side of me would like to chalk it up to a freak recovery (because they do happen), but the human side of me wants to believe that someone else had something to do with it, because she could see that I was somewhat struggling without her. I still am to a certain extent, but I don’t think that’ll ever completely end.

Decided to give Formspring a go. I will answer most questions but if you want to insult me then please do it to my face.

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Not dropped off the face of the earth

Apologies for not blogging so much recently, I’ve got a lot on my plate with work and home life at the moment. The Margobarge is off the road because she failed the MOT and needs work to correct it (specifically, the LCD dashboard display needs to be replaced so I can read the mileage, I need the mileage to get an MOT certificate, and I need the MOT certificate to tax it and get it back on the road). So I’m walking and training it to work at the moment and for a couple of month which has doubled my commuting time but since i’m going to be walking 4km each day it’s not going to do me any harm. Would have been better if it was still summer though, obviously!

Ignore this is you are not a train geek: I’m back on the Class 323s which I was on when I was living in Manchester and worked in Cheadle Hulme, They’re packed every morning and the uphosterly’s a horrible green. The Class 323 is the one with the really whiny gearbox. In this area they’re run by London Midland.

I did make it to Manchester Pride 2010 but only for a couple of days, it’s kind of hard to make a whole weekend of it when you don’t live 300 yards down the road from it any more, but for the time I was there I did enjoy myself. I especially enjoyed the debut Cubstars perfomance, which stars (amongst others) my friend Brian.

I will get photos onto this site once I’ve fixed the plugin that sucks them up from Facebook but which has stopped working properly since the WordPress 3.0 rollout. If you’re friends with me on Facebook you’ll be able to see them in my photo albums.

It wasn’t the best of Prides I’ve ever had but I did make the best of it. I’m a bit skint and stressed at the moment and I’m chalking it up to my head not being in the right space for it. Perhaps next year when I can save up for it and do it properly, who knows. I shall be trying Birmingham Pride for the first time first, next summer.

It was a little strange being back in Manchester for the first time in a number of months. I still do miss the place, and I think one day I would like to move back. But I’ve got a lot of hard work to do and shit to sort out before I can even consider it. We’ll see. Manchester has been such a big part of my life and had I been given the choice I would not have left. My current surroundings are by no means unpleasant but they are, basically, alien to me given my limited knowledge of the area, although in fairness that knowledge is improving every day.

I’ve got a lot of hard work to do between now and the end of the and I’ve no choice but to grit my teeth and bear it. I’m still looking for a few side consultancy projects that I can do in my spare time, so if you think you can take advantage of my skillset please get in touch.

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If you had to shoot one person, who would it be and why?

It’s going to have to be The Pope. Il Papa sprang to mind immediately, I tried to think of others, but they were always trumped by him.

That man and his wretched organisation is responsible for more misery and poverty on this planet than any other in history and it needs to fucking stop. It needs to drag itself into the last century, let alone the present one. It simply isn’t on any more.

They had a fantastic opportunity when JPII died to modernise with a more progressive Pope, but no, they took a bad situation and managed to make it *even worse*. I was very (and genuinely) disappointed with this and frankly so should be all followers of the Catholic faith.

Decided to give Formspring a go. I will answer most questions but if you want to insult me then please do it to my face.

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Who is the most famous person you’ve met?

I bumped into GLS or whatever they’re called in Hilton Park services on the M6 once. That really is as good as it gets, I’m afraid, I don’t seem to be a celebrity magnet like you are :)

I *have*, however, told a number of celebrities to fuck off. These include (but are not limited to) Jack Dee and Jools Holland. I’m not sure that counts as “meeting” them, per-se.

I also sat next to Joan Rivers in a New York restaurant and endured several hours of almost constant swearing throughout the meal. It was hilarious, but, again, this probably doesn’t count as meeting since I never actually spoke to her.

Decided to give Formspring a go. I will answer most questions but if you want to insult me then please do it to my face.

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