Let's start with what I have been up to since we last met.
Rolling ever onwardsFinally the boys and I got our own personal bowling balls, only about 2 years after we said we should. On the day this involved a trip out to Guildford to see Woody, of Woody's Pro Shop. This is the first time I have been out to Guildford since my regular visits, of years past, to a client on the project of whom we dare not speak. The project from Hell took me out there many times (far too many) and so Guildford took on a somewhat desolate tarnish in my mind, which could not be further from the truth. Whilst yes, it is the epitome of out of London life, and reminded me a frightening amount of Stafford, it does seem to be a nice place.
After a pleasant train ride, during which we amused ourselves by having to convince Onepin that he does in fact roll with the same fingers in the ball as everyone else, we navigated our way through Guildford centre out to a leisure complex on the edge of town. Deep, deep down in the basement, technically in what would normally be a storage space in the basement, we found Woody (and who I assume was his wife).
None of us have ever bought a bowling ball before, and unless you have you cannot begin to imagine just how technical a process it is. It took Woody about an hour to measure us all up, using a device that would not be out of place in Darth Vader's gimp room. Everything is taken into account, length of fingers, size of fingers, curve of fingers (in start position and during release) even down to the adjustments for some one's oval thumb.
After an hour and a half of drinking and laughing at people falling over on the ice-rink we returned to pick up our balls(! insert sound that only She-Ra can spell). Having a ball drilled to your exact measurements is a world away from the house balls that you would normally use. I find it hard to believe that we ever managed to play without these. Apparently, so Woody taught us, a correctly drilled ball will naturally grip your thumb when you pick up the ball. You should not be gripping the ball yourself, which is why house balls will cause your hand to ache eventually. Then when you swing the ball, with your thumb at the top, it should naturally slip out, with your fingers following slightly later to give the ball some top spin.
At least that's the theory.
It's such a different way of bowling that in the beginning the new balls are hindering more than helping, but we all feel that we can get more consistency with these, eventually.
Which is a really shame because a couple of weeks before getting the new ball I beat my previous personal best of 165 by rolling a 197, then the following week Onepin broke 200 with a 225. I am now the only one of us never to have past the magical 200. Won't be for a while yet though.
Delayed gratificationIt was recently bonus time at work, a time I was looking forward to it having missed out last year because I had not been with the company for long. Very pleased with what I got, obviously a mistake somewhere, even my line manager said so. Right to my face!
This was the time I was waiting for to finally pay off some debts (more on that later) and buy the new iMac I had been wanting for so long. Unfortunately about a week before the bonus was paid the rumours started circling about a complete redesign of the iMac range, probably in time to coincide with the expected June release of OSX - Leopard.
When I bought my iBook some people thought I was quite mad, with the knowledge that Apple would switch Macs to Intel very soon and therefore refresh the whole line. My reasoning at the time was that there was no way to know when the iBook would be refreshed, could have the been the last machine to be done, and I was doing this as an exercise to try out Mac working, not knowing if it would be something I would like. I have never regretted the purchase, but for sometime I have wanted to make that inevitable upgrade. Various other expenses pushed it back, then I chose to wait for my bonus.
Now I guess I will have to wait till June, or whenever, because I really want to come in at the start of a product cycle this time. I want this machine to last for quite a while.
Livin' it up with Mickey and the gangThe debt that I talked about earlier stemmed from a trip to Disneyland Paris (as Euro Disney is now called). We took my girlfriend's niece and nephew, although really it was all about me and the big rides. I did have my doubts about going though. While I have been to Alton Towers and the like many times this was the first time I was going to such a complete experience, a proper theme park. You know, one with an actual theme. I haven't got a clue what the theme of Alton Towers is, anyone? Anyone? Anyone?
But all my fears were laid to rest, it's a wonderful experience that I won't bore you to death with now. But if you are considering it my recommendation is to go.
And the restNot too much else to report. Had a massive flood at home. Went to a Kevin Smith Q&A. Lost out big time to Pegleg at poker. Spent a lazy Easter weekend watching TV and films while my girlfriend had to work up North. Surviving my current project at work.
I cannot promise that I will immediately get back to full posting rate, but I don't plan on leaving you in the dark for so long this time.