Snowdonia Trip

IMG_0266.JPGI just got back from another great trip on my bike with friends Lee Baker, Marie and Steve Page, Andy Chamberlain and Mike Simpson.  Steve planned the route, we were to spend most of Saturday making our way to the hotel, riding through a fair bit of South Wales.  The weather was amazing as we rode up, stopping every hour or so to stretch our legs or have a coffee or meal.  The scenery matched the weather with some amazing views and some fantastic roads for us to enjoy.

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Great Multi-player Gaming

In the past half year, we’ve possibly been graced with two of the greatest multi-player games ever.  Both are sequels to previously great games, but both take things to a whole new level.

Modern Warfare 2Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 was released back in November and broke records as the fastest selling game of all time.  Popular on both consoles and PC’s it became an instant hit. PC gamers moaned as it came without dedicated servers, using gamers themselves to host as listen servers sometimes causing laggy matches. Luckily it was a good enough game to overcome such negatives, with many great game types, my favourites being demolition, domination and the more objective based games.   Continue reading Great Multi-player Gaming

JLP Bonus

One of the many reasons I’m glad to be a ‘Partner’ (I work for the John Lewis Partnership) is the bonus that is given every year in March.  As all employees are partners, we get to share in the company profits each year.

2010 Bonus Announcement in JL Oxford Street

This year operating profits are up 20% despite the credit crunch which means 70,000 partners get to share £151m between them.  This is worked out as a percentage figure of each partners wage for the year.  Last year it had dropped to 13% but this year it rose back up to 15% (which I predicted some months ago!)  So, 15% of every partners earned wage of last year, overtime and all, is paid to them in March.

For me, for the forth year I’ve put another £3,000 into Bonus save.  This is an incentive that allows me to buy ‘shares’ at a fixed rate of £1 each, which after 5 years can be taken back out, tax free. I also get dividends on these each year, making it a great investment, returning around 60% over 5 years. With the bonus being 15%, I should have a fair bit to pay of some credit cards too!

NFL Done For The Year

So it all began back in September and it seems like it’s flown past.  At week 13 we still had two undefeated teams and these two top seeded teams made it all the way to the most watched Superbowl (in fact, most watched TV show) of all time.

Once again the Redskins massively under achieved, with one of the easier schedules they’ve had they still struggled in games they should have won and finished the season 4-12.  The only good news is it meant Zorn was given the elbow and Mike Shanahan has been brought in to take over the ship with a nice high draft pick next year.

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Nexus One

I resisted for so long… but last week I caved and order myself a Nexus One, direct from Google.  I’ve been very happy with my HTC Hero for the past 7 or 8 months, but the lure of a super fast processor and a nice big AMOLED screen was too much for me.  On Wednesday I place the order, I got an e-mail around 11pm saying it was being shipped, it landed around 9pm on Thursday and went to collect it from DHL Friday morning.

Google's Nexus One

I’ve now had it for 6 days and I’m thoroughly loving it!  There are few things missing from the Hero, I’m in the camp that SenseUI is a good thing and of course that’s not incorporated in the Nexus One.  The jazzy bits and peices like rolling the numbers when selecting a date or time are not there.  The contacts widget on the home screen, which I used to use quite a lot, is not there.  That’s pretty much where the negatives finish though. Continue reading Nexus One

Happy Birthday Me!

So, they average life expectency of a man in the UK is somewhere into his 70’s.  Does this mean I’m now at the half way point?!?

Well, after the last few years where I’d tried to arrange something with my friends from work when nobody has any money… I decided this year to have a quieter afair.  On Saturday night there were two NFL games (Cardinals @ Saints and then Ravens @ Colts) in the Divisional Round of the NFL playoffs so I invited some friends over to watch them. In all there were seven of us (Rob, Pete, Paul (Chuck), Lee, Mark and other Rob) I’d stocked up on pizza, hot dogs, nacho’s and coke so there was plenty of junk food and we watched Reggie Bush dismantle the Cardinals Defence.  Lee, Mark and Rob headed off around 1am but the hardcore stayed to see the Colts smother the Ravens and progress into the Championship game next week. Continue reading Happy Birthday Me!

Car Repairs and Financial Issues!

I decided last week to get my car fixed after the Christmas Day issues, so I dropped it in to the local garage.  I got a call later in the day with bad news about what was wrong…  three new tires, a control arm as well as the faulty alternator and battery would bring it up close to £800!  I wasn’t even sure I still wanted a car, but I guess I need to get these things fixed, even if I wanted to sell it.  A couple of days later I get a call, they can’t find the reason it keeps stopping charging.  Today I picked it up and had to pay out £938 for the repairs!

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Merry Christmas!

IMG_0162.JPGAround 10am Christmas morning, me and Robert set off to Wyndhurst, near Wollerton, Shropshire. A nice easy journey meant we arrived just in time for Robert to make the Prawn Cocktail starters.  There were seven of us in all this year, me, Robert, Mum, Auntie Marg, Aunti Elaine, Uncle Normal and Sarah. It was probably for the best there were a couple less than usual as we were eating in the kitchen this year, with the dinning room full of mothers boxes while she finds a house in the area.

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White Christmas?

So the snow’s back  and as before London seems to slow down to a miserable pace.  We saw a little snow last Wednesday and Thursday, in fact I played some 5-a-side football for the first time in a couple of months in it (the knee held up pretty well) but it didn’t effect things too badly.  I was off Thursday, but took the bus to work on Friday, to be safe. Saturday and Sunday are okay for me to drive in, so I avoided public transport over the weekend.

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Ireland Biking Weekend

This last weekend was quite an adventure, I got Friday and Monday off from work in order to ride over to South West Ireland with some friends.  Some of the guys met up on Thursday to ride to Wales which is where the first drama occurred when a silly lady decided to turn right, from the left lane of a roundabout, knocking Mike off his bike!  So, after separating his shoulder, he was in no condition to carry on the ride.

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