Posts Tagged ‘O2’

Taylor Swift

April 2nd, 2011 No comments

My good friend Andrew got married earlier this month in Jamaica and, due to the costs involved in getting out there, I wasn’t able to go to his wedding in person. I felt quite bad about the fact I couldn’t share in their happy occasion so started to think about what I could do to make it up to him when I noticed that my work were offering box seats to go and see Taylor Swift perform live at Manchester’s MEN Arena. Andrew is a big Swift fan so I entered the competition (having had to Google the answer to the question) and lo and behold I won a pair of tickets.

I am not what anyone would call a Taylor Swift fan, prior to entering the competition I was only vaguely aware she existed, mainly through Andrew’s fanboy ranting, and had heard maybe one song. So it was with some trepidation that I boarded the train in Leeds heading for Manchester Victoria. Andrew made the trip a lot easier by bringing along a bottle of Wray and Nephew overproof rum which we mixed with some apple juice (not my choice, but was actually really good at hiding the killer after taste of overproof rum).

We rolled up the box at about half seven and settled into our free Spanish chicken and pasta meal and the free bar. There was a Scottish pop duo supporting Taylor that had some catchy melodies but were nothing I would write home about. The overwhelming sensation from the build up to the main event was how young a lot of the audience were. Andrew and I have a combined age in the mid fifties, so we were significantly older than most of the people there to watch the gig (ignoring their parents).

Taylor Swift was actually really good live. Not only is she quite beautiful, she can sing and dance and also plays guitar, piano and ukulele. Increasingly rare in the manufactured pop world, Taylor also writes some of her own material. Her songs are not brilliant, a little cliched in places and clearly aimed at the teen market she didn’t quite sell the sentiment of her songs to me. Where she excells, though, is in how she performs. Taylor is a master on stage. She had the audience eating from the palm of her hand and was literally conducting them to her tune. As a live act, Taylor ranks up along Muse and Marilyn Manson in her ability to manipulate and motivate an audience into going on the concert journey with her.

Travelling The Country

July 27th, 2010 No comments

Over the last two months I have travelled over 1000 miles for work, from Glasgow to Slough to Leeds and London several times. I have started staying in Marriott hotels enough to warrant a loyalty card and already have nearly enough points for free night!

Travelling for work is hard, it means early mornings, late nights and a lot of eating alone. I don’t think I will ever really get used to booking a table for one. Although it’s a tough life and I am glad I only have to spend a day or so a week on average away from Leeds I am starting to enjoy certain aspects of it. The variety of the work is something I really love, along with meeting all sorts of characters. It is amazing to think that I spend a lot of time chatting to strangers in the hotel bar or at service stations whilst I am refuelling on relentless.

I am starting to look at moving on from my current job as I want to progress my career, but I am starting to think that I don’t want to move somewhere where I lose the opportunity to travel and experience the things I have experienced over the last few months.

I mean, as I write this I am chatting to a really interesting guy that works in real estate. he is currently setting up a deal to buy a warehouse and turn it into a contemporary opera space in East London.

Future Plans

March 18th, 2010 5 comments

It’s getting to that time of year again, when decisions have to be made about where to live and what parts of my current life are improtant enough to make comprimises in other areas to make sure that I find the best place to live for my curcumstances.

I have really enjoyed living in Seacroft. The house is beautiful to look at and when the weather is nice, it is actually a realy comfortable place to live. The problem is that the weather is rarely nice for long periods of time in this country and the waterproofing issues the hosue faces when it rains/snows/hails are just too depressing.

When the landlord called me to suggest whe was thinking of putting the place up for sale I pretty much made up my mind that we should move on. The problem is where?

The practical part of my brain says we should move to within waling distance of either my or Liz’s place of work so that we can eliminate one of our travel expense budgets. This means picking one of Roundhay or Morley. Liz on the other hand has her heart set on modern city living, looking primarily at appartments in the city centre and just to the south of the river and canal.

There are good arguments to make for both. I mean, O2 do a free bus service from town to the office so actually city living would meet my cost reducing requirements as well as keeping the missus happy. However, I do like my space, particularly in my office/home entertainment room. I have lived and worked out of poky rooms for the past few years and I really want to treat myself to a decent workspace. A good sized second bedroom would probabyl suffice, as we really only need a spare bed for people to stay over in, rather that a fully functioning spare room.

So the search will begin in earnest over the coming weeks, so any thoughts or ideas then feel free to contact me.

Overtime doesn’t pay

November 1st, 2009 No comments

I hope my weekly Twitter updates have been keeping you up to date on what I have been up to over the past few months whilst I have been up to my ears in overtime at work? If not, then you will be please to know that there will be plenty of substantial posts hitting the site over the next few weeks!

I have managed to squeeze in over 100 hours of overtime over the last 2 months. The proceeds from which were supposed to be funding my holidays, both here and abroad, seeing as I havnt been on holiday since going to Prague several years ago! The problem is that overtime never seems to work out that profitable! By the time the tax man and student loan company have had their share I’m rarely left with anything at all. Annoying.

Spending my bonus!

July 26th, 2009 5 comments

It seems that my hard work at O2 over the last year and a bit is about to pay off. I mean this in the purely literal sense as it is bonus time at work. I managed to get an excellent apraisal and I am in line to receive a pretty sizable lump sum! I have decided that this shall be put towards building a relatively starter style home entertainment system. I am new to the whole thing and I have a really small house so I have not gone for anything too flash and a couple of items are still up for discussion – namely whether I sghould get separate games console and Blu-Ray player or plump for the PS3. A lot of articles and pundits have repeatedly opted for the PS3 as the idea source for a low-end system but I still have my reservations about its ability as a console. I will be looking to upgrade they system with a larger TV (ideally full HD) when I have a bigger living room. I fancy adding a full HD projector at some point for those move and sports nights I envisage :P



The full list is as follows:

TV: Samsung LE32B450C4
AV Receiver: Onkyo TX-SR507
Sources: Samsung BD-P1600, Sky+HD, Xbox 360 Elite, Custom built Media PC
Speakers: Tannoy SFX5.1

Change of direction

July 14th, 2009 No comments

I am using this site less and less to update the blogosphere of my daily activities, so I think a change of direction is necessary to make sure that this site doesn’t become a ghost town.

I haven’t blogged in a while so i will just bring everyone up to date:

1) I have had to take some time out from my studies to address a few situations, namely my finances. This credit crunch is a real bitch. Sidetracking slightly, why is it a credit crunch exactly? What’s crunching?

2) As a result of my sabbatical from university, I have had to step down from my roles within both the AHS and Leeds Atheist Society. This was a massive disappointment for me as long term readers will be aware I have been involved with both organisation since their inception. I hope to contine playing a role in some sort of capacity, even if just as a regular old member. The main issue being my need to give the leadership room to develop their own style and direction.

3) I have gone full time with my job at O2. I am now a performance adviser and basically I do the same job, with more responsibility for no extra reward. Well I technically get increased job satisfaction and a job i enjoy most of the time, but not exactly going to make a dent in the old finances!

4) I have moved in with Liz, just the two of us, into a nice little cottage in the Seacroft area of Leeds. It is one of the original village buildings from before they added all the council estates that now mean that Seacroft is a suburb of Leeds rather than its own little village.

5) As a result of the above, I have less than I used to to write about on here, hence the need for a wholsesale change in direction.

I would like to start concentrating on developing a few ideas I have for essays and the like on my particular subjects of choice, i.e. management, secularism, atheism and humanism. Some of this blog is going to get dedicated to that and related stuff, like pics, tweets etc. I also think I am going to put some more syndications on here, sharing posts and ideas by other atheist writers, bloggers and speakers.

I have also started thinking recently about whether there is scope to get more involved in actually devleoping the atheist movement into one that makes a real difference. Chris has focussed in on Humanist Action Group and is working towards turning that into a real charity. Whilst I could piggy back on to that, I wonder whether I could ever really make a difference. My areas of interest is with young people, I think it with this group that real difference can be made. I used to do a lot of work with Lancashire County Council and their youth and community section. I was involved in a number of youth participation programmes too. I also wonder whether I could use some of my contacts in parliament to do soemthing with lobbying and maje a difference that way.

Well as you can see, there are a number of directions this blog could take. I don’t know yet which one I fancy, or which one will come to fruition. Maybe inspiration will hit me, or maybe I will try all of them until I get one that works!

New phone!

April 3rd, 2009 1 comment

I have just acquired my first new handset for ages! It’s two years since I upgraded from a Nokia N90 to the N95, which I then proceeded to lose at V Fest last year. Since then I have been using Liz’s old phone until my staff contract with O2 allowed me to upgrade.

My longstanding dislike of all things Apple includes the iPhone, so one of those was out of the question. There are a couple of Sony Erricson and Samsung’s knocking about that would probably have done the job. In the end though, I went for the latest incarnation of the BlackBerry Curve, the 8900 Smartphone.

I will hope to get a review of it out on the blog soon enough (though many of you are still waiting on my promised review on my Asus 901 – it’s almost ready, honest), but in the mean time just know that I am alrady loving it and can’t understand why I have never been tempted by a “CrackBerry” before!

A bit of a catch up.

February 25th, 2009 1 comment

Regular readers will have noticed a common theme running through my posts recently, namely that of the AHS. Posts on the press launch and the general publicity surrounding the build up have dominated my blog. This is for the veyr good reason that it has been pretty much all I have been thinking about. Sure, I have been involved in a lot of A-Soc stuff like Galileo Day and starting up Perspective but most of my work has been focussed on the AHS.

I have no doubt that the time spent was worth it, you only have to read the coverage the launch got to see how successful everything is proving to be. Check out a few of the pieces here, here and here. The upcoming xchallenge is to ensure that my work with the AHS doesn’t detract too much from my current commitments. I mean I am currently a student, hold down a (not so) part-time job, am president of Leeds Atheist Society and president of the AHS. All of these commitments could and maybe should be full time commitments, but I am sharing my time between them. Thankfully, I have the support of friends and family (big thanks to Liz et al) and a wonderful team working with me both at A-Soc and the AHS.

In other news, it is now only 7 weeks until Rationalist Week 2009!

2008: A Year in Review

January 4th, 2009 No comments

There is a saying that goes “another day, another dollar” and it seems only fitting that I begin my review of 2008 with a quote regarding time and money. 2008 has been a mixed bag of a year, like most years it cam with its ups and downs. The news stories of the year reflect this, with Team GB performing heroics in Beijing and then the economic issues of the last quarter. I hope the rest of this post reflects this theme.

Exams were the order of the day at the opening of 2008. never a good start. Although this particular bunch of exams went pretty well and helped set up a relatively successful second semester on my new course. A-Soc kicked off its second full year with its first event of 2008, the low turnout not indicating the successes to follow. January aslo saw Chris finally lose his virginity at Wendy House.

Darwin Day 2008 was supposed to be the highlight of February, but it got somewhat overshadowed by Sarann’s secret affair! The planning of Rationalist Week seems to get earlier and earlier and we officially kicked off the organisation of A-Soc’s flagship event on the 13th February. Somehow, I also managed to fit in a well deserved few days away with Liz in the lake District – you cannot beat walking, relaxing and real ale by the fire to wash away exam and coursework stress! The Union’s political machinations also culminated with me being dubbed “Norman the No! Man” due to my inability to sit back and watch debates go undebated, regardless of my actual view points.

One of the coups of 2008 came when Si finally succumbed to peer pressure and started blogging! In another blow for democracy, my decision to stand for Faith and Culture rep for the Union was rebuked as I was effectively blocked from standing (or voting). My main memory of March, however, was the setting up of Secular Portal, which would ultimately turn into my current project, the AHS.

Rationalist Week 2008. Need I say much more about how awesome April was? Except for everything that went wrong it was a great success! The icing on the cake was being elected president of A-Soc at the AGM. We managed to recruit a decent sized committee and really was the icing on the cake as far as the success of A-Soc in the first half of 2008.

it seems I didn’t blog about very much in May. Probably down to the exams etc that I was taking, along with recovering from April!

I started work with O2 at the beginning of June and spent most of the month training for my new role. I did manage to squeeze in a few social activities too, brewing my own ale for the SoC graduation reception was a particular highlight. I also went to see Avril Lavigne perform in Manchester, which was also pretty awesome. I also moved out of the house I had lived in for three of my four years at university.

Work and parties seemed to be the order of the day this month in 2008.

I’m going to stop splitting up the months for the second half of 2008 as I didn’t actually spend much time bloggine. Really, I worked near enough all summer – managing a day off for V Festival – either at O2 or putting together Intro Week for A-Soc.

Part of me thinks I should write here what happened in the couple of months I wasn’t blogging, but I feel that it wouldn’t do it justice. It wasn’t until December that I began blogging again, inspired by the relaunch of the site and our end of year festivities.

Hopefully, I will continue this new found blogging activity into 2009.

My marks out of ten for 2008 as a year, a good 7.

Because a pithy title is escaping me!

August 7th, 2008 No comments

The summer time blues, of Eddie Cochrane fame, have been something that many people I know have experienced and is a phenomenen that I am personally familiar with. I have always found it bizarre that so many people, especially in Britain, suffer from this highly oxymoronic state of mind. Most British people spend all year waiting for the sun to come out and as soon as it does they all get depressed! How silly is that?

On a totally different note I am currently experiencing a massive increase in workload. Planning for the upcoming Atheist Society events in fresher’s week is now in full swing. Membership cards and committee hoodies are in the pipeline, events are being nailed down, room bookings being made and equipment sourced. It is quite scary that we are only six weeks away! Then there is paid work, O2 is going swimmingly. I have just completing my second week in ‘grad bay’ so should be fully live soon enough. I am hoping that I impress enough over the next few months to get up the ladder a bit. The biggest news is the fact that I have just been given my first freelance software development contract! Designing and implementing a user interface for a university research department. More on that as I get into it.

I am quite enjoying this new found level of activity. I have been busy before, of course, but it was usually the hectic kind of busy where you don’t get chance to breathe or sleep or eat. This is the kind of busy that keeps you occupied ten hours of the day solidly, but that doesn’t feel that much like hard work. Whether I am still saying this when A-Soc gets into full swing and Rationalist Week is upon us again I don’t know. In the meantime though, I am going to enjoy it and hopefully see my bank balance rise into the positive numbers for the first time in several years too!