Thursday, June 28, 2007

Widespread Flooding and Lucozade-proof Keyboards!

Wow, what a crazy week all of Sheffield has had.

For some random reason, we have had the most rainfall over the city in the shortest space of time, since record began. I'm not talking umbrellas and hiding in bus shelters, I'm talking cars floating away, rivers bursting their banks, and power blackouts. Unfortunatley, other areas have been hit bad as well.

It's been absolutely insane, with property damage likely to run into tens, if not hundreds of millions. Four people have died, thousands are homeless, the power companies have instituted rolling blackouts to fairly divide power between those that have connections to their properties - some are still off the grid.

Buses, trams and trains have stopped running, a large section of the M1, the main highway between north/south England, was closed outright for fear of a local dam bursting, and flooding the road. Things are returning to normal - ish - now, as the fire crews etc are beginning to get on top of the thousands of callouts they've had in the past few days, but according to the weather office, worse is yet to come, with more heavy rain and thunderstorms predicted in the coming days.

My family, have had a mixed bag. The house I live in with my parents is on a slope, so we've not had any flooding at all. Thankfully, I'm glad to be able to say that we're safe, and we're dry, as is our home. My sister and nephew fare well, with no flooding reported over there, but my brother and his other half have not been so lucky. They're living in a hotel right now, as they lived right in one of the hard hit areas, right next to the stadium. My brother's always been into his electronics, and If he hasn't taken the precaution of moving his stuff off the floor, well... It'll take him years to recover financially. He's always been into his gadgets, tv's, laptops etc, and I hope like hell that he hasn't lost a great deal, but I fear that my optimism is misplaced - the area was hit pretty hard. He's not even lived there for a year yet, they got the place together, and they've been flooded out. I suppose life is like that sometimes, but it's still crap.

The worst I personally have had to cope with, was an eleven mile walk home from work, when the buses stopped running. It was kinda weird, it took me over three hours, up and down hills, through several villages, which in places were flooded up to waist height - I have to admit, seeing as I was only a visitor to these flooded areas, there's something fun about wading through the flooding, getting wet, getting muddy, almost like being a kid again.

But it wasn't all laughs, because while there were plenty of times when I needed to wade through the water (soaking my brand new saucony running shoes in mud and silt I might add!), I also had plenty of opportunity to see the less fortunate residents, sitting on top of dumpsters, garden walls, wheelie bins, anything to get out of the water, which in many cases had flowed right into their houses and destroyed a great deal of what they had. TV's, DVD players, cars, sofas, fridges, ovens, dishwashers, motorcycles, you name it, anything that sits on the ground, would have been destroyed by the water. I tried not to think about it, but thinking back, I saw a lot of destruction with my own eyes as well, and I realise that for all the "fun" I had, this really is no laughing matter.

The stadium as I say is totally flooded, Meadowhall was severley damaged by the flooding, right smack in the middle of a 75+ million renovation. The mail sorting office - the mail's central hub in Sheffield, is several feet underwater - all that mail destroyed, letters, never to be delivered, parcels probably in too bad a condition to deliver...

I have to admit, this post wasn't meant to be this downhearted. It was originally meant to make people smile, or laugh, but I guess we have been hit pretty bad, and with worse to come, there's a lot for a lot of people to worry about, and to be sad about. So many people have lost so many things, and for everything to return to how it was two weeks ago? It will probably take years.

Anyway, moving on...

We're (my parents) are having a new front door fitted. Yay! Front door! We've always wanted one!
Okay, so it's not a big deal, but it is for me, because after a night of chilling out watching SG1, drinking beer and chatting to my pals, I end up going to bed at 4am, half drunk. I then had to get up at stupid o-clock (7am) to wait for the guys to turn up to fit it. So I'm here, playing about on my comp etc, keeping myself amused, drinking a nice big glass of lucozade, to keep myself awake. I start drifting off anyway, and all of a sudden my phone goes off with that damn loud Suni Clay ringtone. I jerk awake (no laughing at the back!), half leap, half fall out of bed, and knock the remaining half pint of lucozade straight into my £70 damn logitech G-15 Keyboard. My phone goes silent, as the lucozade starts dripping out of the bottom of the keyboard, it's clear the damn thing is filled up, and is more than likely screwed up past the point of no return. The house phone goes off, and I am not in the mood, so I ignore it, while I spend the time happily swearing, throwing bottles of lucozade about and swearing some more. For good measure, I throw some more stuff about and swear a few more times.

I answer the phone, after it goes off a second time, and it's my dad, like a kid at christmas; "are they there yet, are they there yet?!" I firmly tell him that no they are not here yet, and thanks to him I've spilled half a pint of lucozade in my keyboard, to which he replies "I don't think so".
Anyway, I come back in here, seething, and start sorting the mess out.

The G-15 is a feat of keyboard engineering, really, it's a fantastic piece of kit.
It's also held together with more screws than I've ever seen in one keyboard before. It's like a russian doll, you take one casing off and there's another beneath it, then one on the back, and then one behind that. It's also got a cunningly designed feature - a slot shaped hole in the top of the keyboard, that from what I can see, is specifically designed to allow any fluids spilled on the keys, DIRECT access to the electronics inside, instead of making them have to seep in somewhere... Anyway, even though the G15 is probably the best keyboard on the market, this is the stupidest "feature" I've ever seen. So I spend a long long time cleaning the thing to make the damn thing work.
I'm not gonna bore you, because the bloody thing has just started malfunctioning again, flashing up "USB device not recognised" errors at me, but basically it didn't work, now it does, sorta, and all is mostly good. Mostly.

Damn technology. I hate it.

Anyway, I'm sorry that this blog has been cut short but now my computer is going haywire!
I will try to add more once it stops screwing up!

Have fun, I'm about to kick the hell out of this thing!

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Is this summer?

Well, I've been lazy, as you've probably noticed. I have to admit, I had been prepared to let the whole blog thing be quietly put to sleep due to an overwhelming lack of interest, but after a chat with a close friend, I've agreed to update it, so Lexi, this's for you :).

Anyway, what's new? Not much I spose, I still loathe my job, I mean I always did, but now it's becoming really intolerable. Dealing with people's stupidity day in and day out is breathtakingly tiring and boring, and while you might think that working animal welfare would be a gratifying job, it really isn't as I spend most of my time dealing with silly complaints, calls from people who have made a non-situation into a life threatening situation simply through misplaced care and affection - someone warmed up a baby animal that she thought was cold, by placing it under the grill, for pete's sake! These people are absolutely incredible! Where did they get these people! Did they get dragged out of some kind of looney bin just to make the lives of my collegues and I that little bit harder?! -

Anyway, I've decided the job is so intolerable that after months of dithering I've decided to go and join the army. There are a lot of reasons for this, not only including the fact that I was in the TA/reserves when I was younger and it was the best time of my life - it felt good to be doing something real, there's also lots of other reasons along the lines of "helping my countrymen" and "doing my bit" as well, that I'm not going to go into for fear of sounding incredibly cheesy.

My fitness has improved considerably and I've actually taken up running. In fact I've taken it up so vigorously that I've given myself shinsplints - damn! But hey, I'm keeping myself busy, working on upper body stuff, and that's coming along really well

I've lightened my mood (and my wallet!), by buying myself a pressie, a nice sparkly Traser watch - I've always wanted one, so I figured I'd get one. I've also bought myself the exhaust for my bike and my engine rebuild kit, in total I've spent almost a grand in the past two months, my bank account is pretty much hemorrhaging (is that how you spell it?) money, and my financial security has all but gone to hell, so when the 26th rolls round, I'll be pretty grateful :).

Anyway, yes it is a bit disjointed, but so is my thought process. I'm going to carry on getting fit, I MAY make an effort to keep this updated once in a while, and I'll definitley let you guys know how the thing with me and the Army is going.

So until then, take care of yourselves, I don't wanna see anyone having a bad time okay?

PS Lexi, I'm looking forward to my food hehehe ;).