Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Times have changed...

Back in my day we just used to say "Trick or Treat".

I have just been faced with "Trick or Treat; Money or Sweets only please!"

I decided to give her an apple!

Friday, October 26, 2007

Mork calling Orson, come in Orson!

James & Julian - Where the hell have you gone?

Thursday, October 25, 2007


As Gareth pointed out in his comments below, our new monitor has a built in webcam.  His suggestion that we will use this for naughty purposes in unfounded as we have had a webcam running for many months now and this integrated one is just a bonus that we should not need to use.

Serena's parents have a similar integrated webcam on their laptop and most weekends we video conference with them so they can say hello to Lauren and Jocey.  Our old webcam was not behaving so we currently use one of Logitech's many excellent contributions to the PC world.

For simplicity we have configured Skype to automatically switch on the camera when we chat and this always comes as quite a shock to my friend Lawrence when we blether over Skype!  I have to hit the "Stop Video" button rather sharpish!!!!

What a waste of time!

My trusty Iiyama LCD monitor died on my birthday having given us 4 years of hard earned service.  I checked with Iiyama and it had run out of warranty around Easter so there wasn't much we could do - the repair cost was unlikely to be worth the hassle.

As part of my delayed plans to build a new PC I had always intended to buy a new monitor and had been eyeing up Alex's Samsung Beast since he needed my help setting it up a few months back!

However only a few days before my bereavement I had read a review of the new Viewsonic 22 inch monster and even though it worked out a few pennies more than the Samsung I decided that it was the one for us!

Well the monitor arrived on Tuesday and talk about a faff to set it up!  The digital setup refused to play ball and I had to resort to an analogue connection whilst I worked out what was wrong with it.

I spent 30 minutes of the phone to Viewsonic's techies and got no help whatsoever, just a we don't know but we'll ring you back!  (When?)

Anyway I ploughed on and decided to wipe down the drivers and to start afresh.

Bingo...  I updated the graphic drivers and instantly everything worked fine.  I then installed the monitor drivers and it all went to hell again!

Third time lucky?  I uninstalled all the drivers again and reinstalled the graphics drivers and decided that Microsoft's generic "Plug and Play Monitor" driver seemed to be much more reliable than Viewsonic's own, so I left it at that!

Anyway after 2 days I am very pleased.  Running games at full screen is beautiful, although it does tax this poor PC a little bit!  DVDs look good and 1080P HD Trailers I downloaded as a test look amazing (apart from Beowolf which looks shit! - stupid CGI animation.).

Now I just need to get used to surfing in widescreen!

The Taxman Cometh!

About a month ago I received a letter from HM Revenue and Customs regarding the 3 months from January to April 2007.  Apparently they were concerned that they had no record of me earning any money and hence didn't pay any taxes!  I have to say I was touched by their concern!

They gave me a lovely form to fill in on which I detailed all the inactivity that filled those months between leaving NAB and the end of the tax year.

Anyway time rolled on and I was far too busy with Lauren and Jocey to worry about it until I received a rather long letter from the Revenue on Monday!  It told me that they had reviewed my last 5 years of tax payments and had come to the following conclusions.

  • In 2002-03 I was mainly in Australia and didn't have to pay any tax.
  • In 2003-04 NAB failed to calculate my tax correctly and I owed the Revenue £60.
  • In 2004-05 NAB failed to calculate my tax correctly and I owed the Revenue another £55.
  • In 2005-06 NAB failed to calculate my tax correctly and I owed the Revenue another £60.
  • In 2006-07 NAB failed to calculate my tax correctly but fortunately the Revenue owed me about £500!

Hence they enclosed a cheque for the difference!

Each year was covered off by a different page of the letter and I was cacking my pants by the time I got to 2006-07!  Nice to see that NAB finely managed to do something in my favour!

That little refund paid for this rather fine monitor!

Back in business

I am pleased to say that Lauren is well enough today to go back to nursery, which means that Serena and I can have a rest!

Having 2 kids seemed pretty much like having 1 for many weeks, but when Lauren is ill she demands so much of your time that suddenly you cannot achieve anything during a 24 hour period!

Anyway, I have lots of things that I wanted to blog about, if I can just remember what they all are!

Hence they will be presented in a random order!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Almost back in business

Well the new monitor is here (it came yesterday) and it now works (the supplied drivers don't work, but the default Windows ones do) after nearly 3 hours of fiddling.

Unfortunately Lauren is not well so we have kept her home from nursery and I haven't got time to do a catchup post.

More when I can.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Technical Difficulties

Apologies for being so quiet recently... We are experiencing technical difficulties (No Monitor!) and will be offline (bar the laptop) for a week.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Wish(ful thinking) List

It's Hubert's birthday tomorrow.  Now he lives in Chicago with Bonnie it is harder to get him presents so we usually get him something from  Correspondingly he set up a Wish List to help us choose...

This is top of his list!!!

Tuesday, October 02, 2007


I have had 3 interviews with JP Morgan and then heard nothing for nearly 3 weeks...  My agent was convinced that getting the 3rd interview made me a shoe in for the role.

I just found out that they have decided to proceed with an internal candidate.

I am both gutted and mightily p'd off.  It took them 2 months to decide that whilst keeping me hanging! 

How many jobs have I passed over because I wasn't hunting seriously for the last few weeks?

Monday, October 01, 2007

Comedy Moments

As all parents do, we have hundreds of photos of Lauren playing in the park.  Two recent ones were culled by Serena and have not been published on Flickr, but I think they show great comedy moments!

Since Daddy is poor, Lauren starts dealing (raisins) in the playground!

Ravenscourt Park 016 

Does your mummy make you wear these too?

Ravenscourt Park 012