All entries for January 2006

January 31, 2006

Why I hate: My big toe

Follow-up to Why I hate: Training Week 1 from No I said DublIN marathon

For crap's sake. That'll teach me to a) say training is going fine and b) criticising training.

Steau Butyl Ester played the MChem Monkeys (aka S.H.A.F.T.) sans Dev this morning and pulled off a 3–1 victory despite the monkeys having the better of the chances (well done Andy G).

I digress: Anywho, I managed to kick (accidentally, and incidentally not very hard) one of their players in the back of the foot with about 10 mins to go, and that was it, game over for me. I was able to play on for about 2 mins, before subbing into net. I left the hall and my foot hurt, but it has got progressively worse all day, so much so that I'm wussing out of my game tomorrow.

What a dickhead!!!

Toe is now a delightful purple colour. Looking forward to yet another week without training properly.

Anybody know how long a badly bruised big toe takes to heal?


January 30, 2006

Why I hate: Training Week 1

Writing about web page http://www.runnersworld.co.uk

To be fair the title of this post is a little harsh on "Training Week 1" and should really be titled Why I hate: My crapness at completing Training Week 1." Well, tough shit "Training Week 1", you're getting the blame anyway.

Having plumped for a 3:15 target time (9 mins faster than Dublin), the training schedule from RunnersWorld.co.uk is fairly brutal and requires me to do 32 miles this week. Monday and Tuesday were pretty good, if a little fast (my usual problem) but after that it all went tits–up. Wednesday I had a match against the Poly and Berkswell training, and on Thursday I was in no fit state to do any running, so gave myself the day off. Friday was meant to be a run, but I cocked that up but accidently having a pint in the Grad after work, and Saturday I had a match against Malvern; this pretty much counted as my slow 5–miler as they were gash and we spanked them 9–1. Sunday I was rubbish and again accidentally had a pint after Mixed Hockey training, blowing my long run – bollocks.

Oh well, that was "Training Week 1", and this is a new week (imaginatively titled "Training Week 2"), with a new resolve. Today's run was fine – I ran on the treadmill as it was nut–clenchingly cold out and I had hockey training afterwards and would get cold enough then.

I am determined to stick to the plan this week and if you see me in the Grad, make sure I've done my run. If I've not, kick my arse until I have!!!


January 27, 2006

Why I hate: Graduation

Now, don't get me wrong; graduation is not really for students themselves, but their parents. However the whole process of graduating ends up being phenomenally expensive and dull.

In the words of those lovely advertising gurus at MasterCard:

  • Yourself, parents and siblings having to take the day off work: £400
  • Travel to and from far flung region of the Home Counties: £40
  • Hotel for parents and siblings: £150
  • Dinner the night before: £120
  • Gown, hood and mortarboard/oxford cap: £30
  • Mid-ranged Photo set: £65
  • Lunch: £120
  • Photo of the back of the person behind's head, the person in front of you's head and the back of your head: Priceless.

Dullness:
The 10:30am ceremony this year started a full 20 minutes late. Allegedly (according to one inside source in the procession) because the VC was late. Alternatively (according to another inside source int he procession) because another of the processional party was late, a deputiser was found and then the original member turned up and had to be robed etc. Nonetheless this meant that people were waiting for over an hour in the hall before we got anywhere.
Once the ceremony actually got underway (and the organist recovered feeling in his hands having filled-in for 20 mins) the interesting part was over within about 5 minutes. First of all Nick Seagrave and Andy Dyer decided that they couldn't be bothered to wait for the rest of the procession and so sat down straight away and had to be told by Peter Byrd to stand their arses back up. Then once the opening speeches were done and dusted with all the Biology and Chemistry PhDs were given out straight away. At this point, the person presenting the graduands decided that Chris Newman was actually Paul Newman. That done, all I had to do was clap the remaining 4 million WMG Masters graduates; a task only made bearable by the odd entertaining whoop or cheer, one student thanking the VC in her own special way, and one graduate so pleased to have shaken the VC and Martin Wills hands that she decided she didn't want/need her degree certificate.

On a lighter note, it is nice to see that the University has abandoned it's policy of handing out degrees on brilliant white paper in favour of the more traditional off-white. Whilst this might be a little cliched, it does mean that certificates don't look like they've been knocked-off in 15-minutes in word and printed on a BubbleJet. That said it could have been even worse – they stopped printing the wrong degrees on people's certificates the year after they cocked up mine…


Why I hate: Travel West Midlands

It has to be said that the general standard (cleanliness, comfort, quality etc) of TWM buses, particularly those on the number 12 route is pretty good. That notwithstanding TWM buses, again particularly on the number 12 route, infuriate me.

Firstly there is the price.
The price of a single to campus from Coventry has doubled since I started, to a whopping £1.10. That means that if there are 4 or more of you it is likely to be cheaper to get a taxi from Hearsall Common/The Village Hotel. The price has gone up 20p in the past two years alone. Not only is the price vastly inflated, but it's also an awkward amount. Whilst I bemoaned the increase from 90p to a pound, at least that meant that you didn't "lose" any money if you didn't have exact change and only had a pound coin. Now you need to make sure you have a nugget and 10p.

Secondly they don't give change.
It still annoys me that if I have to pay e.g. £2 because I don't have appropriate change, then I don't receive any change "for the safety of our drivers and to save time." Admittedly I wouldn't want to prospect of being threatened/robbed of my fares, but a semi-rusting lock-box and flimsy, ill-fitting sheet of perspex isn't going to deter a commited thief from his £20 bounty. Stagecoach bus drivers seem happy enough with giving change – why not TWM. Nor do you even a credit note/slip to be redeemed on a later journey/at a TWM ticket outlet. This is pretty standard practice elsewhere in Britain and across Europe on public transport – it's not rocket science.

Speaking of the drivers...
Now if I were to stereotype all TWM bus drivers that wouldn't be fair to them, as most are pretty reasonable people; people who'll stop if they see you running for the bus, smile when you get on. However there are a handful on the number 12 route who are surly, rude and generally treat you (the passenger) as a usurper on their bus, stopping for you is clearly an inconvenience for them and you are (no doubt) going to abuse their bus in some god-awful way. Now don't get me wrong students aren't the most docile passenge3rs, particularly in the evenings after a few beverages. That doesn't mean, however, that at 10am on a Sunday (if God forbid you manage to get a bus) you are than likely to start burning holes in the furniture, smoke (weed) on the top deck or shag on the front seat on the top deck (ok, so that was a number 19, but I've seen it happen). One driver in particular, who got shirty as I was paying with mainly coppers (as they don't give change) then thrashed the nuts off the bus as he was "late" only to arrive on campus a full 15 minutes before he was due to continue on to Leamington; then yesterday the same driver was aggressively revving his engine to hurry passengers off the bus as they exited at the Car Park 8 bus stop. As if that was likely to make people get off quicker.

Finally, there are not enough buses at key times.
It is so frustraiting to see buses go past full (particularly early in the morning) when you are trying to get onto campus. OK, so this is only a particularly large problem when trying to catch the bus at The Village Hotel between 8.15am and 10am, but surely they realise that buses all get full at this time during term so could lay on extra services. You are lucky to catch a bus at all from there between 8.15 and 8.55am – my personal record is 7 full buses going past and not stopping. It is then (if at all possible) more frustrating to have a bus go past which is full when all that's been laid on is a single-decker.


January 20, 2006

Note to self…

Do not leave expensive chocolates on top of continous heat source (e.g. router).

Training – Noooooooo

Writing about web page http://www.vienna-marathon.com

Noooooo, training starts on Monday for the Vienna Marathon (7th May) and the training plan I have tots up to a whopping 1065km (I tend to think in miles, but it sounds more impressive in kilometers). Oh well at least it breaks me in gently – 32 miles in the first week.

Could change the title of my blog, but quite frankly I can't be arsed.


January 17, 2006

Lucky girl

To: The Asian student nearly run over on her bike yesterday
Cc: All students cycling around campus without lights
Bcc: All idiots who fail to understand the correct usage/direction of the cycle lane on Library Road

Dear Luckiest Girl Alive,

You may (or seemingly may not) be aware that you had a near-death experience yesterday at approximately 6.30pm whilst cycling down Library Road. I would like to congratulate you on your luck, and ask you to pick, for me, the numbers for tomrrow's lottery.

I applaud your feigned indifference to oncoming traffic in both directions as you pulled out of the junction without looking. I can only imagine that you somehow knew that the driver of the blue Clio was going to swere dramatically at this point, and so pulled out despite it seeming to all onlookers that this would lead to your demise.

Clearly your use of 15 shopping bags as a night-time illumination/safety system is ingeneous. How could any other road user fail to spot you and know instantly that you are a careful and predictable cyclist? You have also enlightened me as to the correct usage of the cycle lane on Library Road. I thought that the strange markings must have been some ancient text from a long-lost civilisation; clearly they are in fact a warning to expect cyclists from the direction indicated by the arrows, and to use the whole width of the road as you cycle down from Lakeside/Heronbank.

I look forward to further such encounters.

Yours

Dave

[edit: I can't spell]


January 04, 2006

Dave's Italian Airport Love–Affair 2: The Flight Home

Wow, it appears I've not blogged for a while, I've got a bit to say about christmas, and some photos, but I digress…

GAH, what is it with me and Italian airports? On the way back from ESQC-05 I spent 7 very hungover hours in Palermo airport waiting for my flight when I could have been very hungover elsewhere: the pool, my bed, the beach, anywhere air-conditioned with a plentiful supply of fluid. So I thought that after a relatively uneventful flight to Florence (no traffic on the way to Gatwick, no queues to check in, football on the TV in the bar), that I was over my Italian airport love-affair. How wrong I was!!!

We arrived at Florence airport without too much hassle, and the taxi driver didn't even take us for too much of a ride. (I think he was pissed off that I gave him the exact change.) We checked in without too much drama, felt a little pity for the Rome-bound passengers who's flight had been cancelled, had a coffee and went down to departures. I had an hour and 35 upon arrival to get my bags, go through passport control, customs etc and saunter over to the station at Gatwick to catcha train to Cov for a houseparty at my house. All fine. Then we get a message in the tiniest writing on our screen to say our flight is delayed 35 mins, as well as a couple of other flights. At this point I foolishly sent a message to say that I was going to be delayed, but still had an hour to catch my train on arrival with the delay and would be fine. Then coaches started arriving to take people to other airports as planes couldn't land at Florence. It was a little foggy, but nothing too serious – I've seen them land in far worse on the Krypton Factor. Our revised departure time came and went, with no bus, and no further information. Then at about 2.25, an hour and a half after we were due to leave a note came up saying we were due to leave 5 mins ealier. A two hour bus journey, baggage check-in, security check and dithering gate staff later we were on the plane and ready to leave at 5.30, over 4 and a half hours behind schedule.

Once in the air I had time to reflect that when my train was due to have arrived in Coventry, I was flying over the fair city of Verona. That and consider that my throat was parched and stomach rumbling as the air stewards faffed about for an hour before finally serving us not one but two (their generosity still amazes me) dubious meat/cheese filled rolls and a coffee, but no sodding beer. The stewardess stared at me in incredulity as I stated that I might fancy an undersized internationally-branded alcoholic beverage. We eventually arrived at 6:15 (UK time) and I decided that there was a heart-attack related risk associated in trying to run to the station through passport control etc but leaving my bags, buying a ticket, getting onto a train to Watford Junction and arriving there with 2 minutes to spare before the last train to Coventry leaves.

Rubbish!


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