Wednesday, 16 January 2013

New Year's Revolution

Happy New Year!

As always the festive period disappeared way too quickly for my liking. Usually at this time I'd be looking straight ahead to that time of year when I can comfortably get away with wearing three-quarter length shorts and a t-shirt with no socks and can go out on bike rides in the evenings after work. Summertime! This year however, I'm looking to a time a little nearer. Our America trip is fast approaching; it was eleven months away when we booked it and we've now only got two and a half months to go.

In the Meantime...

Life's going pretty well and I can't particularly complain. I'm doing well at work (at least I think I am) and having been there over a year now have hit my stride. To kick-off the year, we were all dragged up to London last Friday for our 2013 'Kick-Off Conference'. Most of the day was all about business and the like, spruced up by the appearance of a magician in the bar area while we were waiting to enter the auditorium for the day - he made a coin appear in my closed fist; I tried to play it cool as if I were only mildly impressed, but who am I kidding? It was freaking awesome! - and a prank on everyone to kick start the day which we were told was confidential, although that may have been part of the prank... whatever.

After a day of learning about how we all did in the year just gone, a couple of awards given out to a few of my colleagues and a look ahead to what we can expect in 2013, we were treated to the biggest surprise of all. It was about seven in the evening, it was a Friday night and everybody was restless. Why were they keeping us here on a Friday night? The answer was given as the curtain that marked the back of the stage we'd all been staring at for the past nine hours parted and revealed that the stage in fact went back much further. And to top it off, it had been filled by a fully-fledged carnival complete with candyfloss, popcorn and booze as well as funfair games (You can bet I hit the bell with the oversized hammer), a bucking bronco and another stage, on the stage, with a live band for the night. It was great and I think it's safe to say that all involved had a tremendous night.

The next night, my little sis turned a decade old and I learnt that when I have a kids one day - one very distant day - I really don't want to have girls. They're a nightmare. Stacey and I were dragged out, although treated to a nice Mexican meal, to assist the parents in the party. Little girls it turns out are very loud and spill a lot of drinks. I'm sighing just thinking of it.

Happy Birthday, Pops!

Knees 2 Faces

One of my New Year's Resolutions was to get back in shape and to start some sort of new exercise. I've chosen kickboxing and the first lesson pretty much killed me. The sessions are two hours long and my body just wasn't used to that level of activity. It probably has something to do with sitting in front of a desk for nine hours a day, five days a week. I ached for about half a week. Stacey had come with me to the first lesson and didn't go back. I returned this week though and although I had to try and break out some sit-ups (Seriously?), I felt nowhere near as achy as in the previous week. Those muscles that I didn't even know existed must have limbered up already! Now I just need to keep it up and make sure to get some more exercise in during the week so as not to lose any momentum.

My other New Year's Resolutions are literary based in that I want to try and read more and I want to finish the novel I've been typing away at for the last year and a bit. Whether it'll wind up being any good is a whole different story, but I at least want to be able to close out the next twelve months knowing that I made and reached that finish line. As for the reading of more, I've already read the whole of Life of Pi for which I will say that the hype is real. I'm now reading the Great American Novel The Great Gatsby. I don't know much about Gatsby himself just yet, but I already want to be him - I now really hope he doesn't turn out to be something sinister having said that.


The thing that's inspired me most to write a little something this evening is news that emerged this afternoon about Blockbuster joining the ranks of so many high street chains by going into administration. My first job (not including my paper-round back in the day) was with Woolworths, who of course became one of the first major casualties of the recession. Fortunately for me, I never had to endure redundancy myself having left to work at Blockbuster just a couple of months before Woolies closed their doors for good. 

I enjoyed a good few years at Blockbuster and just as with 'Team Woolworths', made some friends that I'll stay in touch with for the long run. My thoughts were immediately with my former colleagues when I read the news this afternoon. They'll all be fine no matter what happens, I'm sure of it, but the situation still sucks. From what I've heard in some of the changes that were brought in since I left and from the fact that the business was unable to adapt in this ever-changing fast-paced technologically-led world, it's not too much of a surprise. The way it went down reeks of Woolies though. Rash decisions being made from above and inflicted unfairly on staff at store level. And the fact that most staff will have only heard about the possibility of looming redundancy via the media along with the rest of the general public; it's given me a real sense of deja vu. I remember finding out that the Woolworths ship was sinking just over four years ago on the BBC 6 o' clock news.

For all my former Blockbuster brothers (and sisters), one thing's for sure: we'll all have to go out on the lash at some point real soon! What has it been, like a year since we all went out for a good, proper drinking sesh?

See you soon, guys.