Tuesday, 30 September 2008

its Alive, ALIVE

My PC certainly took quite a pounding, it has big dents in it, and the insides were banged all out of shape. Cables were loose and things are rattling around. Fortunatly once everything was pushed back into shape and some power was applied she coughed and spluttered back into life.

The Beast is back.


Dear GOD!!!!

Yes they arrived..battered, bruised and more bizzarly, opened (several times) and retaped (badly)
Even more worrying was watching the driver unload the boxes, clearly marked FRAGILE and "handle with extreme care" as he threw them down on to the trolly from his van...what the hell is wrong with these people?

I'm fairly certain there will be some damage, but will have to check it out later as I have to crack on with work.

NEVER will I use DPD again...


Monday, 29 September 2008

Transubstantiation is real

As a good catholic boy when I was a kid, I was indoctrinated into the faith in the usual ways, not least of which was the importance of my 1st communion. I absolutely believed in the catholic concept of Transubstantiation which basically means one thing turning into another (bread to the body of Christ and all that)
But as I grew up and developed my heathen and atheistic viewpoint. I rejected all that mumbo jumbo as so much religious twaddle.

So imagine my surprise today to discover that Transubstantiation is real and I have evidence to prove it.

yes indeed. With no more than a few days waiting and some cursing at local depot managers, 2 Parcels can mysteriously, indeed miraculously turn into 4 alloy wheels and 3 low profile tyres.

Hallelujah and other such words of rejoicing.

However despite this miraculous event, I must admit I'm not a happy bunny, and have asked the local DPD depot to reverse this undoubted miracle, so I can get my hands on some clean underwear....Besides I don't have a car that could use these wheels.

oh I should point out, the sarcasm on show here is hiding fury on a scale you probably can't measure...so far no one has been injured..but there's still time. They promise to reverse the miracle tomorrow.


Friday, 26 September 2008

oh bloody hell

How mad is this...

26 Sep 2008
Unable to Deliver, Address Query

26 Sep 2008
Out for Delivery

26 Sep 2008
Confirmed at Depot

25 Sep 2008
Unna Hub
International Hub - in Transit



The Boxes are finally in the Netherlands, according to todays tracking list. I also got a mail back from the courier company who suggested the reason they went to Austria was because there was no country on the Label
....hmm well I doubt very much Bina would not have written the country on the address she put on the box, but even if that was the case (I'll see when they arrive), the courier company actually supplied a shipping label, complete with bar code etc when they picked it up, and their confirmation mail to me clearly shows the full address including the country.

I think I'll do a bit of complaining and see if a refund is on offer...when they finally arrive. I'm dreading to see them after being passed around so many hubs and depots, they could be quite badly banged up.

fingers crossed though, today should be the day.


Thursday, 25 September 2008

Long way round

When I was over in the UK I packed a couple of large boxes to transport my main PC and also some gadgets, clothes, CD's Books etc. Two big boxes weighing around 30Kg each.

A quick hunt on ebay found a courier who could transport them to the Netherlands for a reasonable sum (40quid) and collection was arranged from Bina's house a few days later.

The service was 2-3 days, but as there was a weekend in the middle I was expecting them Tuesday ish.

Tuesday comes, Tuesday goes. but I did get an email asking for phone details of the delivery address (I had them sent to work so someone would be there to collect)

Anyway, its now Thursday, no calls and no parcels so I asked the courier company whats going in.

It seems my parcels are taking a quick tour of the EU as the tracking list they supplied shows

25 Sep 2008
Unna Hub
International Hub - in Transit

24 Sep 2008
Consolidation Scan

23 Sep 2008
Horsching (linz)
Returned to Sender, Address Query

22 Sep 2008
Horsching (linz)
Held By Depot - Address Query

22 Sep 2008
Horsching (linz)
Confirmed at Depot

19 Sep 2008
International Hub - In Transit

18 Sep 2008
International Hub - In Transit

18 Sep 2008
Sorted by offshore gateway

18 Sep 2008
Billing copy available

18 Sep 2008
Exported by international gateway, to DPD Group

18 Sep 2008
International Hub - In Transit

17 Sep 2008
Confirmed at Hub

17 Sep 2008
Forwarded to Aschaffenburg - Exports

17 Sep 2008
Parcel left depot

17 Sep 2008
Parcel label applied

17 Sep 2008
Parcel data entered

17 Sep 2008
Collected from sender

hmmmm That returned to sender comment has me worried. They are currently in Germany so no idea if they're going to get to the Netherlands today or end up back on a ferry to Bradford.



Tuesday, 23 September 2008

Got him

he'd gone out, so by sheer luck I spotted his car coming in, so went out to confront him, fortunatly he wasnt a huge body builder type, more a weedy hairdresser type, so I let rip and asked him why he ignored my notes, and was parking in my space. In full angry fat Scottish bloke mode which clearly scared the shit out of him.

He made some pathetic excuse that his space was too far away and someone else was in it, and it was a big garage etc...but I wasn't in the mood for crap like that, so made it clear he was not to park in my space again. He refused to give his name or flat number but he had an envelope in his hand and I could clearly see his address, so a mail has gone off to the landlord so he can remind him which space is allocated to him.

I do hope thats the end of it...we'll see, but unless he gets very brave quickly I think he'll avoid me like the plague from now on.


Got home to find him parked in another space...I doubt that's his either , which means the owner of that space will probably end up parking in mine...flaming musical parking spots.

Was rather hoping he'd be there so I can get my collegues car in place to force him to reveal himself...mind you he's done this before, and after a few days ended up back in my space so am sure we'll get him.

Also I suggeted to the landlord that someone was parking for free...sure enough they developed and interest in that, somone they can get money out of is more of a catch...

this could run and run.


Right, he's forced my hand

So its after lunch now and still no call, so I think we can assume he's going to retain his anonimity for a while longer since it allows him to continue with his free parking.

Landlord has got back to me and basically wants nothing to do with it, considers it a matter to be resolved between tenants. A point I would agree with if I could speak to the chap.

So, if he's there tonight I have a solution, a collegue from the university lives in the next street and is happy to park his car behind the Hyundai which of course will block him in (shame). That should force him to contact me and I won't let him out till he tells me where he lives.

Hopefully the situation can still be resolved in a reasonable way.


Damn he's quick

So my parking spot thief never called last night, I checked late last night and the note was still on his windscreen, meaning of course he'd parked up for the night and wasn't going to see the note.

Since I have a couple of parcels arriving at the office sometime today I made the extremly unusual decision (for me) to get up early and head to the office for 8am so I'd be there when they arrive. Also hoping that I could bump into our friend at the same time. Face to face conversations are usually the best way to prevent petty squables escalating I think

Sadly though, he'd already left at 7-45am but it was interesting to see the note was not lying on the floor this time, which means of course he's kept it and will hopefully call me today sometime to resolve this...I'm still looking for a wheel clamp though.


Monday, 22 September 2008

Cheeky bastard

One thing I like about my apartment is the extras that come with it, I have access to a communal locked bike shed, a large communal garden (still being worked on though), a huge downstairs storage area and a parking space. My parking space, my very own space, which I pay 80 euros a month for, number 9 is its number and its mine..all mine. ok...

'Course I don't have a car but it does mean if anyone comes to vist me they don't have to park on the street which they have to pay for.

So...you can imagine how annoyed I am that some cheeky twat has decided my parking space is the perfect place to park his Hyundai coupe.

Being a polite sort of chap, I let it go for a few days/weeks, till things settled down, but no...still parking there, or on occasion in another spot forcing the occupant of that spot to park...in my spot.

Clearly a game of musical parking spaces is taking place here, someone does not have an allocated space and is making use of whatever he finds.

So I put a notice on the wall, in English at first, it got removed, later in Dutch, it also got removed. Hmmm

The Red Hyundai seems to be claiming squatters rights.

So last night I put a BIG sign on the wall, and also put a note on his windscreen informing him that the space was reserved and he was not to park there..
When I looked this afternoon the car was gone, and rather unNetherlands like, (they are a very tidy people) the note was on the floor.

Ok well at least I can be sure he read it.

So at 7pm when I come back from Ikea (had a nice dinner there) imagine how annoyed I am to see.....yup 1 red Hyundai happily occupying my space. Sign still in place in big Dutch Letters Geen Parkeren, ( No Parking obviously) and ignored.

Getting a bit silly now...I've put another note on the screen asking him to call me to resolve this...but somehow I suspect he wont....I left my number several times in case he wants to rent it from me (I don't really get any visitors so its dead money to me and renting it will be fine) and he's never bothered to call

Unfortunatly I don't know which flat he's in as we don't actually see cars enter the garage so its hard to find out where he is and go knock on his door.

I am very tempted to let his tyres down to attract his attention, but knowing my luck he'll be some 7ft blond body builder who likes beating people for excercise. But my patience is running pretty thin with this freeloader who's happily using a space I pay for.

This will no doubt be continued at a later date....hopefully I can spy wether or not he's a weedy little bloke into who's face I can kick some metaphorical sand....For the moment a formal complaint to tha landlord will have to do.

Hmm where can I buy a wheel clamp in Holland?


edit I checked...9 is my space, there's no room for doubt.

Nice Sights

Last month Breda held an anual balloon festival, Bina was over at the time and we had hoped to go see the balloons but crappy weather and errm bicycle malfunctions meant we never got to go.

Shame really since theres something strangly romantic about big bags of nylon being pumped full of super heated gasses then flying off on mass.....no really!

Anyway I was on my way to the bins yesterday and as I stepped out my door onto the stairwell I saw 3 ballons floating directly overhead, which made me go ohhhh.. and run to get my camera.

Not the greatest pics, they had moved on a bit by the time I got the camera working. It looks a bit grey here, and it was actually a lovley day here, but it was still quite a sight to see these huge gas bags so close and hear the burners blowing as they passed overhead.

Bina's mad at me I think...she said I didn't mention her in the blog recently, which is true, because I was talking about other things. I think that distance relationships suffer a lot from that unwritten rule about "keep communicating with each other". But this blog is not intended as a means of communication between my girlfriend and me..We do that on the phone and msn most nights.

I think she's just tired because she's currently over in India teaching some PRINCE2 to a bunch of unsuspecting Indian business men.

Wonder what they'll make of her, I always thing of her as my dusky maiden, but I suppose she'll be a little pasty to them and have a funny english accent :)

Anyway, I do miss you, I do wish you were here, you do occupy my thoughts all the time and I hope you have a great time in India and get to see some nice sights.

So....here you go I mentioned you, and we can talk about it later when you tell me about your day.


Saturday, 20 September 2008

Undeserved notoriety

Now that I've been here a few months I'm starting to get to know people outside of work, and have made some new friends with an interest in poker (oh and booze..lets not understate the interest in booze)
Nothing serious you understand, just friendly games with a €50 buy in, €0.50 small blinds, winner takes all or cash in by 2am.

But I've unfortunaly gained a repuation as a bit of a card shark becuase I have cleaned up in both games after coming back from very short stacks.

Last night, in particular was a really good night as I was a little reckless to start with and lost my stake pretty quick, but after ingesting large amounts of red wine waiting for others to fall out of the game, I decided to borrow €20 and get back into the game.

I ended up the chip leader by a fair old margain and knocked out 3 of the 7 players and did serious damage to the remaining stacks. Returning the borrowed stake, I more than tripled my money.

You could of course say that it was all becuase they were drunk by then, but remember I was also drinking quite a bit..and in fact my playing improved as I got more and more pissed. All in all a good night out, I just hope my new friends don't take their ever more frequent joking references to "hustlers" too seriously :)

Looking forward to the next game, I wonder how long this beginners luck will hold out ;)

Wednesday, 17 September 2008

Home sweet home.

Its amazing how things creep up on you and suddenly become so real you can't remember when they were'nt there before.

As I was travelling back to Breda on Monday, I kept thinking how nice it would be to get home....."Home"...so when did that happen. I spent a nice weekend at my old "home" but somehow it was just a place I stayed at, and now I'm home again...in Breda

I guess this means I've settled in eh?

Going to be a nice week this week though, when I was over in the UK I got my monster beast of a PC all packed up and ready for shipment, though I had to leave 2 of the 3 monitors I normally use there. It'll still be nice to get the behmoth here and set up and get access to all my code utilities and records.

Also more importantly I packed the boxes with clothes, both as padding and because I needed to ship more clothes over..you can only wash and wear the same 6 or 7 shirts and 3 pairs of jeans so often eh?

Having a good week at college though, I've started to introduce the students to the joys of actually writing games using some of the skills they've learned. So far they seem excited by it...Lets hope it carries on like that.


Sunday, 14 September 2008

3 down 49 to go

Well I know I missed out number 2 which was my 1st teaching week, but it was pretty good fun.
2nd week was a little less fun, I had to cover a very boring topic, (pointers in c++) which some of the advanced students found boring, but the noobs found a bit tricky...which was of course entirely the point.
I made them watch a terrible video I found on the net explaining pointers...bad as it is, it does indeed explain the concept really well so I will strap students into chairs and force them to watch it 15 times, every time I see an error in the way the use pointers from now on.
Next week though things should really start to get interesting, not so much standing in front of a power point presentation and a lot more getting things done and learning new things by doing them.

Anyway, am back in the UK for a couple of days, packing up some stuff ready to ship over to holland next week. I'm getting tired of not having access to my Main PC and all its tools and games as well as my music and a couple of jackets....I went over with 1 suitcase and could only pack 1 jacket..time for a change :D
(I have washed it...its not as if it smells....much)

Saw Danni and her fella yesterday and went for dinner which was really nice. Love the way she's becoming more outgoing and assertive (though not always in a good way sweetheart...men do look at women from time to time in the streets...let it go??)

Probably going to pop over to my mums later if I get a chance but right now I'm hunting for a big sturdy box that can take my Main PC and it's 3 monitors and huge amounts of bubble wrap.

Whatever happened to tea chests? I remember them when I was a kid, used to be great for shipping stuff around, like ermmm tea.


Monday, 8 September 2008

They don't want my money?

I managed to work out the internet access to my dutch bank account yesterday using this cool gadget they give you to plug into your PC
Strange thing is there's no money going out..in particular I notice my rent has not gone out...Thats a bit worrying. I'll have to give them a call and try to find out why the money has not gone. Am sure I filled out forms and such with account details which would allow monthly transfers.

Better get onto that now or I'll end up owing people a fortune without realising it..UK direct debits are so much easier.


Is there no end to my pain

ok..it's taken several weeks and I've probably ignored it up till now, but I have finally found something I dislike about Holland.

The lack of customer service.

This of course could be entirely down to the intensive Apple staff training which causes Apple staff to feel they are above such things as basic customer service and the ability to fill out a form or make a phone call..But I think it might in fact be a Dutch thing.

I've cancelled the Iphone...
I've had enough. 4 times I went to that shop, made to stand around like a lemon, despite them knowing why I was there, and 3 times told that the only person who could deal with it, was ;

a) away on a training course
b) back in a couple of hours
c) was there a few minutes ago...

So I would leave my number and ask someone to call and update me, even if it was with no news I think a simple, update would have been nice.

Of course I was told yes that would be no problem. I never once received a call.
Yesterday, eventually I get to the relevant assistant manger (after being made to wait for 2 lots of 30 mins while he uselessly dealt with customer complaints and filled out forms (often twice as he was Cleary incompetent)) (programmers will notice the balanced brackets there...I was going to make a programmers joke and not close this bracket but only programmers would get it...and ermm I've explained it now so...)

Anyway, Rinus, for that was his name, cheerfully tells me how he's kept missing me as he was
a) on a training course
b) back in a couple of hours
c) had just nipped out.

"Yeah right ok, so why has no one called me to give me an update?"
blank looks
"ok ok, so what’s the deal with my Iphone now?"
"Still nothing from T-mobile, it might be another week or so."

now bear in mind dear reader (hi mum)..I was originally told 48 hours, then a week then 2...so no we're talking possibly a month...a month...to get a contract for a mobile phone.

ARRGGHH At this point I remember seeing red...something about heads flying around, mouths with mac minis forcibly stuffed in them and people with Dutch accents begging for their miserable lives.

But after a few deep breaths, (its not considered polite to get angry in Holland) I said,
"Ok...that’s enough then, please cancel my order I'll work something else out. I can't keep wasting my time like this"
"yes it’s not good your time is very valuable" comes the reply in typical polite Dutch stating the obvious way and I walk out.

I stopped crying a few hours ago...the whiskey helped.


Thursday, 4 September 2008


Yup...still not heard from Ifactors about my Iphone....I shall have to pop in and see what's what.