Thursday, 4 October 2012

The Stokes Chronicles: Episode 2

I haven't been in the same office as "The Stokes" for 6 months now. This week I return to the fold as I have some work to do for the client. This was todays gem:
[When asked by the Big Boss if the suggested "Stokes" approach would work accordingly]

"I'm almost 100% sure that is exactly how it works. In fact I'm 50/50 towards being 100% sure..."
I laughed so hard, I think a bit of wee came out...

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Devastating personal news

Haven't written anything in a while as preparing for racing has taken over my life, but felt that it was important to share this devastating news...

90% Geek

Looks like I'm going to need to put in some effort, in order to fit in with the rest of society...

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Starting a race team. Dream on...

I've always been an avid fan of speed and motorsport, despite not being a big fan of spectating anything - it's participate or nothing for me as a rule - with the exceptions being Formula 1 and the MotoGP. For years I have dreamed of racing cars (as my ass is far too fat to race bikes, sadly) in any race series I could get into. I would love to race both track and rally cars, and in addition to dreaming about it I have been looking into ways to get started.

Would anyone believe that racing is quite an expensive hobby...?

Last year, after purchasing my first Evo - a car I have loved and desired for a very, very long time - and entered it into an amateur race event.

What a buzz!

The thrill of driving a car as it was intended to be used - flat out, as hard as possible - is an indescribable feeling. The rush of adrenaline as you come close to losing control and wrecking your beloved car is the only drug I need! It turns out that I'm not too far off the pace of the other drivers in the race, even with the lowest powered car entered.

This is where the realisation of the ultimate costs hit me. I'm competitive, very competitive, and so I wanted to race this season properly. Enter as many of the events in this race series as I could get to, and put in a challenge for the lowest class title. So I chatted to some other drivers, mechanics and tuners to understand what I needed to do to make my car competitive.

It appears that thousands will need to be spent just to get close to the standard of car in even the lowest class. Thousands spent on a car that is my primary form of transport, and therefore will do quite a few road miles each year. Thousands on a car that needs servicing every 4000 miles, and gets no more than 180 miles from a tank of fuel before it gets tuned to race standard.

And now I have "broken" the suspension...

So the car has been with the tuners for 3 days now, and I haven't hear a thing from them. You know how people say that "no news is good news"?? Well in this case they could not be more wrong. The more time passes without word on the car is more hourly labour charge, and more expensive things that have been discovered to be in need of replacement.

So born out of desperation - and not out of any religious beliefs - I turned to the God of all things mechanical and internal-combustion-based;

"Please can I get my car back soon. Also, please let the damage to the suspension be trivial so that I can get the remap and more power... [gets down on knees to pray]"

Our Father, who art in Donnington,
Racing be thy name.
Thy start-line come, first places won,
on Earth as it is in Turn Seven.
Give us today our high RON fuel,
and forgive us our overtakes.
Lead us not into blind bends,
and deliver us from understeer.
For thine is the speed, the power and the glory,
for ever and ever.

Friday, 6 January 2012

Caught short.. almost...

For the majority of my life I have not had any regular routines. You might describe my lifestyle as "somewhat chaotic" and it does put the fear of god into a lot of people I know, but it suits me. However over the last few years I have developed something of a semi-regular morning routine that has been quite predictable.

I have a coffee and a smoke when I first get up, it is the waking up ritual that seems to get me started quicker than a cold shower. The rest of the morning prep is squeezed into the next 20 minutes before I have to leave for the clients office.

On arrival more coffee is the order of the day (the stereotypical staple of the techies diet) and at about 10am another smoke is duly consumed. This brings us neatly to 10:30 am and the most regular fixture of my lifestyle...

The morning porcelain throne ritual.

Observing this time honoured tradition is a sacred time of private contemplation, one that suffers no interruption or delays (this can be very important - delays can really leave you in the shit) and requires only a few prerequisites;
  1. A vacant trap/stall/cubicle
  2. A reasonable supply of paper (of the derrière kind - paper for reading is optional) 
It just so happens that, despite rumour to the contrary, I work quite hard and get engrossed in whatever project I am working on at the time. This has caused me to be late for my usually prompt appointment with the "Chelsea Contemplation Glade" - or toilet as it is known. On one of these occasions the emergency evacuation alarm was on high-alert before I decided to break for a well earned think and "pinch off a loaf".

A wise and experienced man will always check the availability of paper before presenting his ass to the pan, and as wisdom is only gained through experience, I knew well enough to look in advance...

"Damn. All out of shit-tickets..."

This was not the first time this month that I had discovered the lack of wiping equipment in the office khazi, but is was the first time I had let the alert status reach DefCon 2...!

Sainsburys is 10 mins walk away. Including time to shop that makes a 25 minute delay on "dropping the kids off at the pool". Damn. Dilemma. Do I risk the trip to the shop while on high-alert status, or do the unthinkable (and spend the rest of the day with no socks on...)

Those of you still reading by this point may be wondering if I made it...

Well it was down to the wire - cramps and sweats were upon me - but I made it, and I got to keep my socks! Result!

Sis Says: The Pilgrimage - Part 3

Couple more updates from far, far away...
From : SIS
To : Shag
Received : Thu 22nd Dec 2011
Subject: RE: Hello :-)

Greetings from the land of all things Holy (and I ain't just talking about BF's underwear)!!!

We finally got around to buying a road map and it's very useful.....if you are in any area other than the one we are currently in :-/ a word to the wise: trying to buy a roadmap when you don't speak Yiddish can be problematic.

So now I have seen an alligator up close and personal. It was like so against health and safety and this and that. They could get a heavy fine and everything. BF nearly shit himself! Standard ;-)

I've bathed in the river jordon at the exact location of Christ's baptism (ahem). The water was filled with otters! You would have thought he would have found a better spot!

Another fabulous sunset. Another epic road. This place gets better by the day. I insist this goes on our todo list. You wouldn't be travelling for the sake of it.

Hope all is good with you.

Luv ya and BIG *cuddles*

SIS xxx

How well she knows my thoughts on "going travelling". Pointless pastime IMHO. Travel definitely narrows the mind...

From : SIS
To : Shag
Received : Fri 23rd Dec 2011
Subject: RE: Hello :-)

Hi de Hi shagster,

Day four and I'm still alive....despite BF's best efforts. Today we went for a ramble (yeah I know. Trust me. It was not my idea!) to the highest waterfall in Israel. As usual we arrive and are told not to deviate from the path because we will be in a firing zone filled with (yep. You've guessed it) landmines. All was well for five mins until the path just vanished and split into three different dirt tracks! I designated BF as on point and followed in his big clumpy boot marks. Bet you are thinking the waterfall was great though. Nah. It was shit.

After much debate about the route (resulting in me having to "lose" the map before ended up in another mine field) we set off for the west bank. The sand dunes and mountains are something else. It's farming country and I saw my first real Shepherd....with sheep and everything! just need three wise men and I'll have completed the set :D

We are now in jerusalem. It's a Friday so everything is shut (friday is the new sunday apparently) After our already eventful day, we are not too bothered. Lunch and some well deserved pay per view *tv* methinks.

Hoping the shadow of shag isn't being neglected. I'll have some serious catching up to do when I get back. Pretty sure you won't have gone nearly a week unsupervised without at least one facepalm moment ;-)

Luv ya Muchly and miss ya loads
SIS xxx

Now I'm feeling quite guilty that I have been neglecting the blog...

There have been a few facepalm moments in the last couple of weeks, but I have been so busy trying to get on top of them that I haven't dutifully posted the details. Some have been drafted so it's time for me to pull my finger out and get the details on here.

Thursday, 29 December 2011

Sis Says: The Pilgrimage - Part 2

More tales from the East

From : SIS
To : Shag
Received : Weds 21st Dec 2011
Subject: RE: Hello :-)

Found another wifi spot! Bonus!

Today we are at the sea of galilee, staying in a log cabin on an illegal Israeli settlement. It has a private spa in the room so I was making the most of that last night.

The roads are to die for. You and and the bike would be in heaven. I'm going to try and get a vid for you today. They spiral through the mountains with sharp s bends and on each side is an active mine field. Lol! I think BF is wishing he hadn't hired a skoda for comedic value now because it doesn't really like hills. All adds to the adrenaline rush though so I'm frigging loving it.

The sunsets here are breathtaking. I've never seen anything like it. And because there isn't that much light pollution you can see every star in the sky at night.

Totally worth the risks. Although on hindsight hitting the motorways without a proper map could have ended in disaster yesterday; we almost ended up in Syria by mistake :-0

Today off to see an alligator farm, the place Jesus pulled the two fishes & five loaves stunt and to see were the big man was more driving without a map. *gulp*

BF says with today's economic climate there is no way he can demand two camels and a blanket. He is going to settle for the blanket. I may have to shoot him in the head. Don't worry. It's all the rage here. Practically encouraged.

See you soon!!! Luv ya!!!
SIS xxx

Monday, 26 December 2011

Sis Says: The Pilgrimage - Part 1

My darling sister and her boyfriend have decided to visit Israel for Christmas this year. Spend some time in Jerusalem and visit Bethlehem. Very alternative, and very cool.

I have been getting daily email updates and I feel these need to be shared with the world, so that all may grow in wisdom and knowledge from their insightful genius...

Character List:
SIS: My dear sister
BF: Sisters long suffering boyfriend

From : SIS
To : Shag
Received : Weds 21st Dec 2011
Subject: Hello :-)

The weather here is nice. Warm but not blisteringly hot. Perfect for exploring. Better than snow, wind and ice anyhoo ;-)

We are off later today to start the golan heights part of the trip. BF has gone to collect our car. The name of the hire company is GoodLuck. Slightly disconcerting :-/

First stop is where Armageddon is supposed to happen and then off into the desert. BF has arranged a surprise apparently. Here's hoping it's not selling me for a camel.

Hope all is good with you. And if not good, then bearable. I miss you loads. You don't know how many times I've grabbed my phone because I want to tell you something/ ask you something/ send a pic! Lol!

Oh and FYI, I will be boring you senseless with photos as soon as I'm back.

Merry Christmas bro
SIS xxx

While I am looking forward to her being home, somehow the thought of looking through her photos induces a Gulf-war-syndrome-esque relapse in me, perhaps from sitting through family photo sessions as a child. Sis does take some awesome photos though, so that should more than balance the irrational feeling of dread that I can't seem to shake...