WordPress Upgrade

I’ve just installed the latest version of WordPress so the blog is looking a bit basic at the moment. I’ll add all the fancy bits back in over the next few days.

Edit: Everything is now working again except the photo galleries, smilies and subscription system. I’m going to wait until newer versions of the plug-ins are available before reinstalling these features.

Edit II: Smilies are now working on comments. I’ve added a load more of them too, see:

      🙂 🙁 :d :”> :(( \:d/ 😡 8-| /:) 😮 😕 :-” :-w 😉 [-( :)>- #:-s (~~) **== *-:) o:-) 3:-o :(|) :)) :-?? :-ss <):) <:-p =:) >:d< @};- [-o< ^:)^ #-o $-) %%- %-( (%) (*) (:| 8-> 8-x 8-} :)] :-$ :-& :* :-\ :-< :> :-@ :-b :-j :-l :p :-s :-c :-h :-t 😐 :o) :@) :^o ;)) ;;) =(( =)) =d> =p~ >-) >:) >:/ >:p @-) b-( b-) |-) l-) o-+ o-> o=> x( [-x ~:> ~o) ~X( =;

Edit III: Photo Galleries and Subscription system are now working too. Upgrade complete.

Official Christmas Party

Yesterday was the “official” College Christmas party.

I don’t really know why I bother going to these every year – our department’s own “unofficial” bash is always much more enjoyable – but once again I found myself buying a ticket. The rest of my team don’t bother with it, so I usually end up propping up the bar chatting to all kinds of people who I don’t really speak to much over the course of the year. 🙄

Like last year, it was held at the Clayton Green pub next to Boundary Park with an 8pm kick-off. But before that, I spent all afternoon in the Three Crowns with a colleague who is leaving next week. 😀

It was one of those bizarre days where you get drunk quite quickly but then have to slow down because you know you’ve got to survive for another six or seven hours. I think I began to sober up as the night went on; I was absolutely fine when the taxi dropped us off at home but my hangover this morning tells the full story. :-&

Australia Medicals

Today we went for our medicals for Australia, the very last thing we need to do in the emigration process. 😛

Even though the Australian Department of Immigration haven’t requested them from us yet, our agent advised us to get our police checks and medicals done straight away because a decision on our application is hopefully due any time now.

We phoned around the list of approved doctors a couple of weeks ago to to see who could fit us in and how much it would cost. It turned out that Huddersfield could fit us in quickly and, at £310, it was much cheaper than Manchester were asking. Seeing as it’s only a pleasant 15 minute drive over the moors to Huddersfield, it was a bonus not having to go into Manchester too. 😉

So this morning we went over to Elland Hospital to have chest x-rays done. Being a private BUPA hospital, it was very nice, efficient and spotlessly clean. We were in and out in less than half an hour.

We then had to go to a health centre next to Lindley Hospital for the actual medical. To be honest we’ve been dreading having our medicals for ages; our token health kicks over the past few months have’t really made a great deal of difference to our (un)fitness. 😐

It wasn’t too bad though. Most of it revolved around a nine page health questionnaire, with a few physical examinations to make sure that we are able bodied and not likely to be a drain on the Australian health system. They checked eyes, ears, teeth, feet, reflexes, blood pressure and took urine and blood samples. :-ss

Thankfully there were no obvious causes for concern so, subject to the x-rays and blood tests coming back clear, that’s it. We’ll arrange for the results to be couriered over to Sydney next week and once they’ve arrived we’ll pester our agent to get things moving.:smile:

I’ve ducked the Wigan game tonight so that Sara and I can celebrate completing our visa application. 😀

Edit: Test results and x-rays came back all clear and are now on their way to Sydney by DHL. 🙂

Manchester United 1 – 1 Everton

After a dismal week where United were knocked out of Europe completely – not even reaching a UEFA Cup place – everyone expected a spirited performance against Everton on Sunday afternoon. 😈

In Ladbrokes before the game we discussed how many goals United would win by: 3, 4 or 5? Surely Fergie would inspire the team and show the critics that there is no crisis at Old Trafford? We saw sense and gambled our £2 on a lucky 2-0 win with Scholes to score first. If only. 😐

To be fair the first half wasn’t too bad, despite Everton taking an early lead through McFadden. With Van Nistelrooy suspended, Saha made a rare start up front alongside Rooney and looked very sharp at first – lots of pace, one-touch layoffs and strong challenges in the air. Giggs impressed for about 90 seconds, spread over an hour, including his equaliser after 15 minutes. 👿

Ronaldo started on the right but didn’t really impress; Park came on with half an hour to go. Neville did well down the right but, as new club captain, didn’t really put his mark on the game. Richardson started at left back, eventually replaced by Rossi near the end. Alan Smith was energetic, as always, but you have to worry about the timing of some of his tackles; he’s not a midfielder by any means. Fletcher replaced him with 15 minutes to go, and odd decision considering Saha and Giggs were hardly in the game in the second half, but Fergie’s bizarre substitutions no longer surprise me.

I never thought I’d say this but Phil Neville was, for me, man of the match. 😯

Another draw at home, with Chelsea winning their game again, isn’t the result we needed. 🙁

Edit: I won’t be able to make the Wigan game on Wednesday night so I’ve given my book to Steve from the King’s Arms.

Unofficial Christmas Party

It was the unofficial Christmas Party yesterday, usually referred to as the “Boozy Do”. 🙂

Most of the team booked the afternoon off and started in Budda at lunchtime. Unfortunately I couldn’t get away until 4pm so I knew I’d have some catching up to do once I joined them. NickB, already halfway through his second bottle of red wine when I arrived, was very entertaining… until he got thrown out for spewing up in the toilets. 😕

We hastily moved on to Walkabout and stayed there for the rest of the evening. I’ve no idea how many bottles of VB I put away but I was certainly quite merry. Bad head this morning. ~o)

Next week I’ve got the Managers’ Christmas meal and the “official” College Christmas Party. 😐

Christmas Shopping

I took the day off work to go shopping in Manchester today. Thankfully I don’t really have to do much Christmas Shopping but I needed to buy a new suit for work and a present for Sara.

As a rule I detest clothes shopping but buying suits is an absolute doddle because there’s really only one place to go: Slater’s Menswear on Lever Street. Since discovering it about fifteen years ago, I’ve bought at least a couple of suits from them every year. It’s a proper old fashioned gents outfitters, with experienced staff who know exactly what to show you before you even ask. No need to tell them your size, they just take a look at you and steer you straight to the correct racks. Mission accomplished in less than 15 minutes. 😀

Feeling quite pleased with my efforts so far, I decided to treat myself to a new jacket so I headed over to Black’s on Deansgate but on the way there I spotted a new North Face store and popped inside for a shufty. I saw a few nice jackets in there but I wouldn’t get away with spending £300 on a coat when we’re supposed to be saving money – I’ll try again in the January sales. 🙁

At Black’s I found a nice windproof Berghaus fleece that had been reduced by 30% so I bought that for myself – perfect for those cold evening games at Old Trafford. 🙂

Back to the Christmas shopping, I braved Marks and Spencer looking for something for Sara but couldn’t find anything she’d like. Sara’s a very tricky person to buy things for – she even struggles to buy stuff for herself – and I’m a hopeless shopper, a bad combination every Christmas but even more so this year when we’re trying not to accumulate posessions ahead of the move to Oz.

After 20 minutes of being jostled about in the crowd I began to lose my rag, so I thought I’d better escape. I had quick shufty in the Arndale but it was just as bad in there. Manchester is a complete nightmare for shopping unless you know exactly what you want and where to get it. 👿

On my way back to the car I took a detour via St Anne’s Square, hoping to find some inspiration on the German Christmas Market, but unfortunately nothing caught my eye except the Bratwurst stall. 😉

I guess I’ll have to make another trip out to get Sara’s present. At least I’ve managed to avoid going to the Trafford Centre this year. 😯

Essential Firefox Extensions

Most people at work have now made the switch to Firefox 1.5. There were a few issues with certain extensions not working but we got there in the end. Here’s my list of essential Firefox add-ons:

  • Adblock – Removes adverts from web pages
  • Adblock Filterset.G – Automatically updates Adblock
  • All-in-One Gestures – Navigate by “drawing” with the mouse. Can’t live without this one, once you’ve tried it you’ll never go back.
  • Always Remember Password – Forces websites to remember your passwords
  • Bookmark Backup – Backs up your Favourites
  • BugMeNot – Bypass website registrations
  • Colourful Tabs – Changes the colour of the tabs when opening multiple websites
  • Context Highlight – Highlights the selected words on an entire web page
  • Copy Plain Text – Copy text to the clipboard without any fancy formatting
  • CuteMenus 2 – Adds icons to many of Firefox’s menu items
  • DeskCut – Quickly create shortcuts on your desktop
  • Disable Targets for Downloads – Prevents downloads from opening in blank windows
  • Download Statusbar – Monitor your downloads in a separate status bar
  • Ext2ABC – Reorganise your extensions in alphabetical order
  • Fasterfox – Speeds up Firefox
  • FirefoxView – Adds a “View in Firefox” option to Internet Explorer
  • IETab – Views a webpage using Internet Explorer in a Tab, for awkward websites
  • ListZilla – Lists all your current extensions
  • Plain Text Links – Allows you to click plain text as if it was a hyperlink
  • Popup ALT Attributes – Fixes a bug with the pop-up messages when you hover over a link
  • PopupSound – Makes a sound when web pages are blocked or downloads are completed
  • Remove It Permanently – Let’s you bin unwanted parts of websites such as headers or adverts
  • ScreenGrab – Captures the entire contents of web pages to file or clipboard
  • SessionSaver – Restores the contents of your browser tabs from one session to the next
  • StumbleUpon – Automatically finds web pages similar to the one you are looking at
  • TargetAlert – Gives an indication of what action will be performed when you click a link
  • UndoCloseTab – Re-opens a tab that you’ve accidentally closed
  • Viamatic FoxPose – Displays a preview of all your current tabs, side by side.
  • Viamatic TabNail – Include a mini preview of the webpage on each tab
  • Web Developer – Allows you to edit CSS and other web design elements on the fly
  • WellRounded – Rounds the corners of the URL and Search boxes, looks nice
  • XYZProxy – Lets you instantly switch between proxy servers

Have I missed anything that I should be using? Leave a comment and let me know.

I’ll update this post from time to time because it’s a good reference if I ever need to reinstall a missing extension.

Manchester United 3 – 0 Portsmouth

George Best

It was an emotional evening at Old Trafford as the United faithful paid their respects to Geroge Best. Thousands lined Sir Matt Busby Way to take in the amazing tribute of flowers, shirts, cards and even the odd bottle of booze. 😉

A minute’s celebration, rather than silence, was held before kick off – the sheer noise in the East Stand, everyone clapping furiously and singing “There’s only one Georgie Best”, was breathtaking. The singing continued throughout the whole game with “We All Live in a Georgie Best World” being repeated over and over again, it was a magnificent way to mark the passing of a true legend. 😀

Inspired by the crowd, United didn’t disappoint on the field. Giggs, returning from injury, looked more like his old self. Paul Scholes finally opened his account after 20 minutes, finding acres of space in the box to head home a Giggs corner. Park, starting instead of Fletcher, was energetic and surely now deserves a run of games.

With Portsmouth offering little threat, Richardson replaced John O’Shea at half time and, with Wednesday’s big game in mind, Giggs was taken off after an hour. Ronaldo came on and tormented the Portsmouth defence with his tricks, setting up United’s third for van Nistelrooy shortly after Rooney had doubled United’s lead with ten minutes to go.

For the first time in a long time, it was a real pleasure to be at Old Trafford tonight. I got home soaking wet through, cold and hoarse, but happy. 🙂