Together We Drink

Every a number of week, our (now Australian) parent company would hold a Beer and Pizza event. It is an after work social to get people together. Free Beer and Pizza!

First I got conned by the low alcohol beer. It was a Carlsberg but only got 0.5% alcohol. I thought it was a proper one, but conned by the label until someone told me.

The emails went around the office before promoted the after party to be some kind of a must attend event. So I prepare myself for that and went along.

Got the tram into the office (was annoyed it had took me ages), so that I can drink.

After the beer and pizzas, we went over to the bar over the road from office. The turnout was actually quite poor; there were about 10 in the bar.

We had a couple of drinks and half of the people left and there were only 5 of us going into town to meet our new colleagues from our parent company.

As we were about to go pass Castlefield, one said: “This is interesting, I like to look into people’s flat and see them watching TV.”

Then I said: “I live in one of these!” and as the Tram went pass my flats, I point out where my palace was and offered to come out naked and wave next time his tram passes by.

We met the others in a pub on Deansgate, had a couple of drinks, spoke to a funny Kiwi guy who surprisingly live in one of those “you can look into on the tram flat”.

It was always the plan to go to Dukes 92 (my favourite and kind of my local), but more faffing about, not in sync drinking, forced the parent company colleagues to go first.

As we were about to head off some 10 mins later, some came back into the pub and said they have lost people who went home, oh…well…..

Once we have had another drink, we went to Dukes finally. On the way to Dukes, one has asked me what I thought about a Chinese Restaurant he’s recently been to in the Northern Quarters.

Well my answer was: “It’s excellent; I go pretty much every day!” No I didn’t say that exactly, I said “I am bias, but they are very good, next time you mention my name you might get an extra prawn cracker!”

It was Friday night and it was busy but wasn’t full at Dukes.

We sat outside for some more drinks and chit chat.

A pair of my lovely colleagues: Celena and Sharon, with Tony Morris from ITV Granada in the background! Who? You know who, the Trevor Nelson lookalike.

I went home at about midnight, but the rest of the gang headed out towards town for more drinks until 3am I was later told.

It was a shame that not more have came out. But I’m sure when the weather gets better; those party animals will come out.

Take Care

Simon

My not very typical but fun packed week…

My account of a not very typical but fun packed week (couple of weeks back…)

Can I start from Saturday? oh go on then

Saturday

I went to an Retirement Show with my girlfriend, we started the day with some Tai Chi. It was so fun, we both enjoyed it very much.

In the afternoon, she was assisting her sister in their cooking demonstration on stage. I was “the assistant to the assistant”, they gave me a sale target just like at work, to sell her book. I help sold 3!

Sunday

I went to see Suede at The Ritz in Manchester. I was very excited. It was one of the best, brought me back to school days when I used to play their songs very loud in the boarding house. Some YouTube links here, a prize for who can spot a jumping Simon!

Trash

Animal Nitrate

Everything will flow

The Beautiful Ones

Brett was awesome! The very best of britpop and what a gig.

Hope they would come back and do it again.

Monday

Meet my girlfriend for dinner (Sushi – yummy…), went for a drink near my place, in the middle of the quiz night. yuk!

Tuesday

Nothing, it was just a boring day…

Wednesday

Took my school mate to  my girlfriends’ place to eat before heading off to the football game at Manchester City against Everton

Dinner was great, thank you my dear. We loved it!

The game was dull, referee was diabolical. Everton won 2-nil but the game was played like a nil-nil.

But I did see some retired ex-gunners Paddy Vieira  and Kolo Toure.  They look relax and enjoying their retirement. (They have past it unfortunately!)

Shame I didn’t see the handbags fight from both managers at the end, I was at the opposite end.

Still fun to go to a live game.

Thursday

I was busy at work, but quite as productive though…

After work, I went to the office mixed five a side, started in goal again, but got beaten twice by a girl. She is streetwise, apparently.

The lowest point in my career? Well unfortunately not! I was in goal once for UMIST and lost 12-1 >_< It was the defence! not me…

Still it was fun, good exercise to keep my weight loss plan on track……

Friday

Busy at work again but it was dress down day so I came in with my Coca Cola Delivery Man shirt with Coca Cola badges and COKE written on the back. I love this shirt. Only recently that I could fit back in it.

For my round of drinks, I asked: “Tea, Coffee or COKE?”

Then I tag along to cricket nets with a colleague from work. It was so much fun, I love cricket, haven’t played for donkey years. It is slowly coming back to me, my leg breaks, top spinners and the ‘Chinamen’ (one that goes the other way…)

My bowling was dissapointing but batting was much more fun, even did a cheeky sweep (my trademark!). Oh I did get a caught and bowled.

Saturday

My whole body was shattered. But got myself up though for a special haircut at Trevs, then met my girlfriend to find something to eat.

—————————————————-

That was it, my not very typical but fun packed week…

Simple Simon Happy Day

WoW! This is my 200 Blog Posts…

I am “Simple”, I am “Simon”, I am “Happy” and this was my “Day” today.

7:00am – Woke Up

7:15am – Got Up – Put my work face on and my HAIR up at a cool but looking professional angle

7:30am – Wondering around my flat to get myself more woken up

7:35am – Got dress, picked a tie!

7:40am – Left the flat, took the lift to the car park

7:42am – In the car, setup the TomTom, picked an album (Escala was today’s pick)

7:45am – On route to site

8:00am – Humming inside the car along the motorway, hurray! no traffic was stopping me today…

8:30am – Arriving on site, what a lovely sunny spring day…above the GIANT chimney…

8:45am – Met up with my manager

8:55am – Got kitted up, safety boots, hard hat, safety specs, big yellow jacket…

9:00am – Met the client

10:00am – Meeting over then went around for the site tour

10:30am – Breathing in and eating wood dust

11:00am – More breathing in and eating wood dust but now enjoying it!

12:30am – Lunch – Thank god, they ran out of “Wood” Chips.

12:35am – Talked Football

12:45am – Talked Chinese New Year

12:55am – Talked Hong Kong

13:00am – Talked Climate Change & Work

13:30am – Proper engineers’ discussions

14:00pm – More of above

15:00pm – More of above

16:00pm – More of above

16:45pm – Got into car, stayed in the car, first Tweeted then returned missed calls and voicemails, then checked emails

17:15pm – Drove off back to the office

18:00pm – Arrived at the office, my-happy-self said “GOOD MORNING” to people who were still there *joke*

18:05pm – A colleague said “He was worried by the cleaner’s ringtone last night when he was the last  one in with him. It sounded much like those religious music!”

18:06pm – Simon said “Don’t worry about it, but if he takes out a video camera with a tripod and some black curtains then run for your life!” Cracking up haha…

18:15pm – Got changed into my football kit sporting the Arsenal colours

18:30pm – Drove off to the football place

19:00pm – Kick off, started in goal – of course!

19:02pm – First Save

19:05pm – Second Save

19:07pm – Third Save

19:10pm – Fourth Save – lost count then…

19:15pm – Swapped and played outfield

19:20pm – Bad dribbling

19:25pm – More Bad dribbling

19:30pm – More Bad dribbling

19:40pm – Dribbled pass one, shaped to go left but went right, saw a gap to bottom right corner, curved the shot around a player and the goalie in the tight bottom corner GOOOAAAAALLLLLLLLLLLLL (it was a good goal but very much dramatised by my words…heh!)

20:00pm – Game Over, said Goodbyes, drove home…

20:25pm – Got home, checked facebook, twitter, skype, emails

21:00pm – Dinner – just made something quick…

21:30pm – Writing this blog

22:00pm – Publishing this blog

22:30pm – Getting ready for bed

23:00pm – Updating this blog and checking my loudsy spellings and grammar.

23:30pm – Will be reflecting on a good day, feeling happy and smiling to myself

00:00am – Sleep & will be having a dream or two…(greedy me…)

Can a human video recorder be in “Heores”?

I am talking about my memory skill. Is it a skill or a ability? Is it Nature or Nurture?

Unfortunately I don’t have the answers. Nor I believe that I can be a character in Heroes. I mean what use would I be, I rather be Matt and read minds than collect vivid past memories in my head.

There are three things that I believed to have contribute to my so called “ability”

  1. I have a larger than normal head size. In side that large head, I have a larger size brain!
  2. When I was a child, my mum always reminded me that I was not as bright as others and therefore had to work ten time as hard to be on par.
  3. I had a very high temperature fever when I was young. Went to hospital and subsequently had to carry out a series of brain scans and monitoring to check if I had brain damage or not.

You might think that this is a good ability to have. Well let me tell you, there are disadvantages too.

I remember most times when jokes are on me. Mistakes that I have made. All the lack of courage moments when comes to talk to the opposite sex. Failures at school, uni and work. Any sporting disappointments and other other embarrassment. Over the years, I have learnt to suppress the negative memories and only bring out the positive ones for my blog.

Sometime I feel like an old man telling tales but my ability is still improving. There are still loads of space left in my human video recorder! Yes that’s what I am – a human video recorder, on continuous recording mode!

So you have be warned, if you tell me or show me something, I will most definitely remember that for LIFE!

But here I am living to find even more exciting, interesting, defining moment to treasure. Who wants to be in my video tape?

Stories of The Ryan House Four Tigers

This year is the year of Tiger, it reminds me of “The Ryan House Four Tigers”

Ryan House was the name of the student block of flats that I have stayed with three others during my 2nd year at Uni. It is located on Cavendish Street in Hulme. The three other Tigers were Adam, Edward and Pedro.

The beginning

Edward and Adam were my fellow hallmates of mine at Weston Hall during the 1st year. I got to know them through playing Basketball. Pedro is Edward’s coursemate and he also tagged along to play basketball too. Needed to find a place to stay for the 2nd year, I was open to a few options. I was going to rent a place with my coursemate Lester but needing to find others to make up the number for a house shared. A fellow UMIST football teammates & ChemEnger also asked me to join his houseshare in Didsbury. Well I took the third option when Edward asked me whether I would like to join them. Edward, Adam and Pedro were looking together and have found this new build private student hall. All they were missing was me the fourth person to make up the number for the flat. So I joined them and Ryan House.

Ryan House

Ryan House was privately owned. It was going to be built just in time for us to move in. It was charging £60 per week similar to that for Weston Hall. We were at Flat 7 on the third floor. Not surprisingly there were alot of South East Asian students too. The flat opposite also came from Hong Kong but study at University of Manchester. The flat above was Singaporeans and the flat below was Malaysians. One of the attraction was the claim that Ryan House will have an internet link with the University similar to University halls like Weston. But this claim never came true, so slow death dialup it was then. The guy who owned the building didn’t really have alot of experience of running a student hall. They splashed out on new Ikea furniture everywhere. One mistake was he didn’t bring in comerical coin-operated washing machines and dryers. He just installed normal domestic ones. This meant that there was no way of recharging us the students. So hurray for free laundry!

Cooking Roster

We had a cooking roster. That was the fun part of living together that year. Pedro didn’t really want to think about cooking so he volunteered to do the washing up (everyday that is!). So the cooking roster was between us the other three. Basically we rotated to cook for everyone. Proper Chinese dinner that is, no oven or microwave rubbish! We were quite traditional in that sense, having RICE everyday!!! There would normally be three dishes, two meat ones and one veg. Funny enough we had our own different style, so dinner was never dull.

Edward’s style was “Choppy”. He chopped and cooked everything in small chunks and bites.

Adam like Chinese style steam water-egg and other very homie dishes.

Not surprisingly I was the extravangant cook who would try anything and was also the messy one!

We normally finished Uni at around 4/5ish and would come home to cook. I don’t think many other people did it like us. But religiously it went on throughout that year.

Weekly Supermarket

Our local supermarket was Asda in Hulme. It was about 20 minutes walk from our place. Again we would religiously go together during the weekend. We would take out two trolleys one for shared food and one for personal stuff. It is normally the case that Pedro and I were buying too much for our own personal indulgence. Edward has to in many occasions stop us the children!

We would then wait for a taxi to take us back. When we got back I would be the one to interpret the receipt and we would work out who owes money to who etc. We kept a noticeboard in the lounge for tracking our debts.

Dinner Time TV

Although there was no fast internet, the owner of the hall was kind enough to set us up with then called ON Digital. They funded the basic package but we had upgraded to get the Sky Sports channels. I remember one period we were watching Dragon Ball Z on cartoon networks, then series of Friends, NBA basketballs and football of course. Adam being a ManU fan, Edward is a Liverpool fan and me the Gooner!

Weekly Basketball

Every Saturday morning we all went to play basketball together at Sugden Sports Centre. And again we had our own different style of play too. Adam’s Jordan fadeaway, Edward’s all round brilliance, Pedro the unorthodox and me the big slow shooting rather than layup centre.

Rubbish & Micky Mouse

I was lucky that day when it was my turn to cook. So I watch the event unfolded from upstairs. There were a big pile of rubbish building up because other flats were not dumping rubbish properly into the bins. They just trunked out onto the backyard. We the sensible lot put up a notice to ask everyone to join in and clear the rubbish. Unsurprisingly no one came other than ourselves. With me watching on from upstairs’ window, Adam, Edward and Pedro went about clearing the rubbish. They form a human line and started to transfer the rubbish bags into the big bins. After a few bags were removed. A frightened Micky Mouse dashed out. He first bumped into Edward’s right foot then bounced on to this left before going through his legs and ran towards Adam. Who was then shouting “Mouse Mouse Mouse!” in a shocking voice and jumped immediately onto one of the concrete pillars. I was have the best of time watching from above. The mission was then abandoned and we reported it to the managing agent. They got a professional guy out and murdered Micky. As a lesson for our fellow residents, Micky was hanged on the wall immediately behind the back door to reminder others. Well it definitely reminded Adam & Edward for a second time. When they took the rubbish down and were shocked to see the hanging Micky clearly displayed in front of their faces. I would definitely have nightmares if I was one of them.

There were many other memorable stories but I will keep them until the next time.

Take Care of yourself and each other

Simon

Surprise & Fun Tennis in Hong Kong

Sports used to be my addiction. It still is but now you would have to add “Wii” before and “Resort” after…haha

It was very rare when I got the chance to play tennis in Hong Kong. I used to play with my friend Will regularly when he was in Wigan. He is now working in Hong Kong. His boss is very fit and play sport nearly everyday. A game of doubles was setup. They managed to find another (good) player and we were all set.

I had to buy a new pair of trainers (being a size 12, this is difficult in HK), found my childhood racket underneath the bed (but needed a new grip) and borrow a pair of shorts from my dad. But the excitements are all mine…

I was very much looking forward to it even though I have not play for months. I know I would be rubbish.

We started to rally around and I was rubbish, balls flying off, into the nets etc, a few did get just over. Obviously I blame my racket. But never underestimate Simon, I always has some surprise brilliance up my sleeve.

My brain slowly started to remember my tennis skills and confidence grew.

We started to play sets and I was given the balls to serve first with Will receiving at the other end.

I did not even bother to think where I want to place my serve. I just want to get it over and in. What came was all natural. A pacey ace out wide, Will can’t even reach to get a touch.

That was a true surprise for everyone including me. Will’s boss said: “Will! Where the hell you find this guy!” Will: “I think he has just remember the Wigan days”

My next serve was to Will partner and a good player, I double-faulted and somehow came back down to earth. Next serving to Will for the second time and I nearly ace him again, ONLY for Will to just touch it. I can’t explain it but certainly brought some spice and fun to the game.

There were many good rallies and cheeky drop shots. There were also many comical misses and more aces for Will (Sorry!). By then it was not just a game, it was a FUN game. We were all chatting and having a great time.

My team won the first set comfortably and we change partners for the second set. Obviously me and Will (we the less talented) stayed on opposite teams. My team started to dominate the second set and were on course to win it comfortably when we were 5-2 up. Will and his boss came fighting back and provided some tense drama (which is actually more enjoyable then if we were to win 6-2) . They came back (well we kind of let them) to 5 games all, saving a couple of set points on the way. There were also close rallies when both team kind of got mixed-up, missed very easy shots. We were not playing tennis, we were just having fun. At the end, we broke and close out the game. So there it was, an extremely fun game of tennis. Will’s boss was even talking about a re-match the very next day. Shame my tight schedule won’t let me but next time definitely.

Lucky my serve (ace for Will), my surprised brilliance came out a few times and that I brought along some laughter and fun to the game.

Sometime it is difficult to explain but if we have played a million times and the feeling won’t be the same. My surprise serve won’t be a surprise and may be it won’t be as fun the next time.

While you are in a good moment, enjoy it while you can.

This is definitely a highlight to my trip in Hong Kong. Sports make me tick I guess…

Anyone fancy a game of tennis?

My first time in Manchester, 8 hours away from Cornwall

I went to school in Truro, Cornwall. I am from Westcountry. So don’t fool me with fake looking pasties…

This is a true account of the time when I came up to UMIST for my interview in Manchester for the very first time.

The train takes about 8 hours. It was a direct train from Truro all the way along the westcoast then to Birmingham then onto Manchester. The University has found me a cheap B&B hotel (Grafton Hotel £20). It was next to the Royal Infirmary just off Oxford Road. Although I was from Hong Kong and familiar to city life. I was little overwhelmed by Manchester at first, alone in a unknown city. All I remember people from Cornwall was saying: “Manchester is rough!” (They probably still think that now). So arm with this but also with my real excitement, as I really want to go to UMIST, I went to Manchester. It is also where Chemical Engineering had all started too. I was not a bright student, not good enough for Oxbridge, so UMIST was the next best uni in Chemical Engineering.

Got into a taxi heading for the hotel. My eyes kept looking out of the windows, there was nothing to see along Upper Brooke Street! The hotel was not modern at all, even worst than Trennick, my boarding house. The room was very small and there was no tele. For my dinner, I went out hoping to go to China Town. Not knowing any transport or directions!, I just kind of walked. My sense of direction is poor (still is), I went toward Rusholme rather than China Town. Got lost in little India. I was miles away and was so disappointed that I missed the opportunity. I was so looking forward to proper Chinese food. There are good takeaways in Truro, but it is not quite the same. Char Siu Rice ar….

Low in morale, low in energy, I had to settle for a pizza, not really wanting curry. Also went to the shop and got some magazines to fill the time in the evening. Back to the hotel and to my box room, ate the pizza, then had to open the windows to get rid of the smell. In the same time, feeling the cold wind coming in, you know Cornwall is much warmer. Then I was so tired, so headed for an early night for the important next day.

Our school has taught us well, encourage us to wear a suit to interview. I did and look pretty smart. Many other just turned up in their jeans and trainers. This was my first suit from the local Topman. I still have it in the wardrobe.

The one thing I was looking forward to is the Pilot Plant. UMIST is the only university has a pilot process plant. If you drive pass the new Macdonald Hotel near Piccadilly Station. The now named “Morton Laboratory” is still there, the hotel people want to have it knock down to improve their view but it is still there after a strong battle. It is there to stay!

The day was great, UMIST is a modern university, we got to go around Weston Hall. Ensuite Rooms, close to Uni & town, what sold me was INTRANET = INTERNET. No more 14.4kbps (yes 14.4kbps!) at school, it was 10MBps straight though to JANET, the inter-university link in the UK. I remember downloading was already at 600kb/s. This was more than 10 years ago! I still can’t get that speed in my new place…

Other than the attractive intranet, I was also impressed by my chat with my interviewer Prof Davey, who afterward became my tutor. I presented myself well and we chatted about what I was learning in Chemistry (btw Chem Eng don’t really have that much chemistry though). There were only good things that I saw afterward, the Joule Library, the Vimto thing, the statue of Archimedes, the computing facilities, sports facilities. I am definitely coming back and so I did with my luck.

I had to dash as the train was leaving at around 3pm. The train would arrived back to Truro at about 11pm just before roll call at Trennick.

I was both lucky and unlucky that I met my Physics teacher’s daughter who was travelling back down from Bath for her interview too. That meant two things, I can’t get await from the Physics test the morning after but at least I got a lift from his dad back to school.

That was my first time in Manchester and here I am now some 12 years after, the slope leading up to Piccadilly Train Station is still a joyful walk. I still called University of Manchester – UMIST, the Morton Laboratory – Pilot Plant, Sackville Street building – The Main building, Still stare at the changing colour logo at the top of Social Science building while driving on the Mancunian way (I will be careful).

Thanks for reading – My first Time in Manchester, 8 hours away from Cornwall!

Simon

Debrand has forced me to Rebrand

marchconsulting.co.uk

I registered this domain as my silent protest about being gradually debrand at work.

It is inevitable after the acquisition.

As I am the last employee for March Consulting (2 acquisitions before the current one),  I feel very lucky to have spotted this domain became available.

I have not done anything spiteful, it is just a laugh…

But dare I say it will make a come back one day.

Simon (724)

March Consulting – Knowledge Innovations Solutions

Two Thousand and Nine and Ten

Happy New Year!

A quick recap on my 2009:

The first few months, I was in the process of buying my new place. The financial market was so low that mortgage was near impossible. I luckily got it (good rates too). My new place is city centre apartment in Manchester at a very good price. It was developed by Urban Splash. I got it £100,000 less. I felt like winning the lottery really. I can smell the profit when I do sell it…

Moving house is always a pain in the backside for me as I am a rubbish collector. I mean electrical/computer gadgets etc etc. I am also lucky that my new place is big enough to accommodate everything including all 6 of my computers. (Lomug, Lomug the 2nd, Superman, Littleson, Catbus, Sofastreet (the WHS) ). They are all named after my childhood toys, will need a whole blog post to explain.

Moved in at the end of Feb, after coming back from my annual trip to Hong Kong for the Chinese New Year. My parent came to stay with me for a total 5 months this year in two different stints. It was good that the whole family was all under one roof. My parent felt healthier with the cleaner English air compared to the dirty air in Hong Kong. The new place also suited my brother who was working in town. It would only take him a short walk to city centre.

Workwise, it was pretty much the same, always busy, dull at times, hectic, chaotic, a lot of reports and my special spreadsheets. I wonder someday if I would be near good enough to setup an excel consultancy… maybe not just yet.

And of course, I help my clients to save a lot of Carbon Emissions. Highlight is always winning more projects from existing clients. I like follow-on work because that is how I value my hard work.

On the personal front, there was a change of heart at these social networking things. I started to Tweet (on Twitter) and Facebook. Now I am obsessed with them…

The highlight must be me dancing with the bridesmaid at my friend’s wedding. I think Len (from Strictly Come Dancing) would score me a SEVEN. It looks good on video. I was dreading to see it really. I could have been an embarrassment for her, but no all my hard work of watching Strictly has paid off. Thank god the cameraman was good…

My brother decided that he would move back to Hong Kong for good. So he did in Oct with an internal transfer to his company’s HK office. But after the first week, he wanted to do a u-turn, only for the UK office to say they can’t take him back. Working is HK is not like UK, it is very tough, 8to8 mostly 6 days a week. A lot of pressure, back stabbing, office politics etc. My brother being the spoiled one in the family of course reacted to it negatively. It is highly likely that he will be back in the UK, probably after a year away. May be after all these years in UK, it is difficult to change. (me too! I think) Even my parent want him to come back to UK, they rather fly over and stay with us then see him work to dead.

Car wise, I finally got my new company car. It is an Audi A3 it took nearly 3 months but arrived in early December. That was my biggest Christmas present. I love driving it so far, it is just CLASS…

Finally, let look forward to the New Year.

My wish is that I use 2010 to fix all my problems. I definitely need to find a new spark in my work and personal life before running out of batteries.

As always I wish to help a lot of people. This is the reason I get up every morning, but only this year, I have to find someone to help me.

Keep educate people Apple is evil. iWhatever will be withdrawn worldwide.

And finally Arsenal to win the double…

My dream will be complete.

Simon

Office Christmas Party (2 of 2)

Dodgy Swap > Dodgy Beef > Dodgy Drink > Dodgy Health > Dodgy Simon > Dodgy Night

I swapped dinner choice with my big boss. So I had Soup then Steak instead Soup then Turkey.

Anyway, not sure whether it was the drinks or the meal or the fact that I was full of cold.

Sorry to my colleagues, I was not a great company, dodgy Simon appeared.

I didn’t feel well at all, I became an immature lunatic.

So I dragged myself home very early (didn’t even finish my last drink)

I collapse to my bed for my recovery.

End of Story.