Friday, 24 February 2012

Year 'Dating' Anniversary and Big Jigsaw!

Wednesday it was mine and Brandi's first (and only) year anniversary. One of the things she got me was a 5000 piece jigsaw. This means I can attempt to cross off "127) Do a 5000 piece jigsaw" when she comes over. I am apprehensive. 1000 pieces took ages (and 3 attempts). Though it will probably be a blessing since we won't be able to afford to leave the house for a while.

Speaking of the house, I'll put pictures up if and when the mortgage is accepted and everything goes through. Don't want to jump the gun just yet.

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

113) Find 10 geocaches: Part 7, 8 & 9

Part 7

When Brandi came to stay in Moseley we were looking forward to Geocaching. It may sound nerdy, but it is pretty fun. On September 11th, not two weeks after she had been here, we set out on a weekend day to find a Geocache.

The first one we looked for was difficult. We looked all around the trees and bushes, but it wasn't to be found. We decided to go onto the second hope. I was a bit worried about this one, for two reasons. Firstly, it was called "St Mary's Church", when the GPS pointed to another church. Secondly, it was a "nano". If we couldn't find the normal, I didn't expect to find a nano.

The church as just off a road that was used a lot. We didn't want to start looking around too obviously, as we would draw attention to ourselves. Thankfully, there isn't too many places you can hide one, and we surprisingly quickly found it, attached to the bottom of a gate with a magnet, was "Moseley St. Mary's Church Nano".

Part 8

Towards the end of September, on the 18th, Brandi's mom and brother came to stay with us. Trying to show them some of England's countryside we went to the Peak District. We had a nice walk along a disused railway, and decided to search for another Geocache.

This one, "Clapgun is 40 #3 – MR Clapgun", is by far the easiest we have found.

Part 9

During Brandi's stay we met up with Lee and his girlfriend Gemma a few times. Lee is a guy I got on really well with when I worked at Birmingham Midshires, and endeavoured to stay in touch with. He is a really good laugh, and we have a very similar sense of humour.

We had told them about Geocaching, and they liked the idea of it, so on Saturday 24th September we decided to help them find one to introduce them to it.

This was easier said than done. The Geocache we were trying to find was in Kinver. Kinver is a really nice countryside area, and one of the few places in England where you can find snakes. The snakes weren't a problem though... but the trees and the lack of GPS when in the was.

We decided to cut away from the path to save time, and literally follow the compass. This led us up a pretty steep hill, and having to jump over a barbed wire fence. We gave up with the initial Geocache after the GPS would tell us it was a meter away, and then decide it was 50. We carried on walking in hope of picking up another signal that will be more definitive.

We walked into more trees. Thankfully the GPS was being a little better here, giving us more chance to find it. After a quick search we managed to find an ammo box (how cool!) hidden under some foliage. Finding it was almost as hard as figuring out how to open it!

After finding "'End Of The Way' Kinver" I now only have one more left.

Saturday, 18 February 2012

108) Learn to do Rubik's Cubes in under 2 minutes

When I worked at Switch, Jon once bought in a Rubik's Cube, and casually solved it, like it was nothing. I was in awe. I had given up on all Rubik's Cubes when I was young, and assumed they were impossible to solve. I then thought of the question (that I made up) "If someone said they would give you a million pounds if they could lock you in a room until you solved a Rubik's Cube, would you do it?". The catch being, if you don't you will starve/dehydrate to death. I wouldn't do it... but if ever that chance came up I wanted to be able to.

Anyway, I decided that I wanted to conquer Rubik's Cubes, something that from a young age I learned I'd never do.

I started to learn it, and in June I managed to solve my first one. I had learned how to do it all but the end, but this single time the end, by chance, didn't need to be done. A girl was sitting next to me at the time, although she did well to hide it, I am sure she was impressed. 

During a trip to London I sat in Hyde Park trying to improve on my speed. I saw a group of Japanese tourists taking a photo of me. They probably went back saying "In London they have people sitting in parks doing Rubik's Cubes!".

For the last few months I had got my time down to around 2 minutes, but I couldn't consistently achieve it. I wouldn't count it as being completed until I could always do it in under 2 minutes.

Without further ado, here is the evidence.

*I should also point out, my nephew Sam very proudly filmed the bottom left video.

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Awh. Nice Spotify!

I write a lot of "strongly worded emails". It seems to be becoming a hobby. I am one of those annoying people that customer services hate, that complain about the wording on the package. It is mainly out of boredom. The only example that has ever made it onto the blog is the whole Bloomex affair.

Last week I was annoyed that the council summoned me to court over council tax payments. It's more annoying that I didn't see any reminders. It's not an issue, I paid it, it just cost me an extra £62 that I could have done without paying. Needless to say, it put me in a mood.

When I got to work I put my laptop on so I could listen to music and put me in a better mood. I use Spotify. It's awesome. Apart from this one time... it had deleted all my songs. I cracked my fingers, ready for a "strongly worded email".

After saying a few things that annoy me (the songs redownloading, the mobile app sometimes crashing) I ended it with saying that I was sending it mainly because I was having a bad day.

I had a reply from them the next day... at the end of it, Tom, a guy who everyone would want to be their best friend, wrote:

What a gentleman. I then found this picture attached at the bottom, entitled "Have a great day Andy.jpg":

It did, indeed, put me in a better mood! Especially considering the "strongly worded email" to Groupon the same day had an annoying, default response.