Sunday, 26 January 2003

Round Robin written 26th January 2003

Round Robin 1

New Web Site takes Shape. 

I spend many of my spare hours working on a new look web site for my timeshare stuff. Aiming for a less cluttered, black text on whiter background, and reorganising and re-writing some of the files. Many people have posted up their advertisements for free over the years, and there are currently over 500 European timeshares on sale on my message boards. It would not be possible without Bravenet, who host the boards, and so long as their service is free, I will still offer that. I will trim the free ads so they only run for 3 months, so the advertisers will have to come back to renew.
There used to be free boards for timeshare in Loot, but they charge now, so I figured I would, too. The premium paid-for ads will get a better position on the web site and I will just make it harder for them to get to the free board. I have been heartened by a steady stream of payments for advertising in December and January. It has taken awhile to become established, as every brand does. I cannot retire yet, but at least it’s a start. I opted to be paid out by the credit card company in June and December, for a birthday present and a Christmas cash boost.


Melissa aims high 

Melissa is in the top group in her class, doing very well in all subjects. When her group have finished their work, they go and help the other groups. She has been telling me how she helped one girl who was struggling to do a sum that went into the hundreds. “I didn’t tell them her the answer, “ she said, “I just told her how to work it out.” She loves her swimming and has swum 2 lengths of the pool.


Robert gets the Sound right 

Phonetic sounds are taught in school now. Robert is learning his sounds by sounding out a letter shape, and learning an appropriate action to go with it. I have tested him on all the letters he has been taught so far, and he is right on the button with it. So with “u” he holds his fists out in front of him and thumps them together as if putting up an umbrella, while saying “Up umbrella”. For “v” he puts his arms out in front of him and makes like he is moving a steering wheel and driving a van, saying, “Vvvvvvvvvroom van”.

Work and all that 

As I write this, I seem to have mislaid Michael’s letter. I could not help noticing that Ben is earning more than I am now. All of us in the lab are fed up about pay. They treat us very badly considering what the job calls for. I think I should be worth at least 50% more than I am getting now. But against that background, we are run, effectively, by the USA side of Xerox, and they could easily argue about sending the work to Thailand or some other Far East country and get them to do the work for third the price they pay us. Or we could just leave and work somewhere else, if only another job was so easy to come by. I have been trying since 1995 to solve that conundrum. I had an interview in Hemel at BT last week, but did not get the position. It was administration in a web development area and could have been ideal for me, if they had thought me the most ideal candidate for the job.

Property 

So, 2 bedroom flats with garages in Blackpool are £26,950. Great. I will bear that in mind when I come to sell up and retire. Does that come with central heating and thermal underwear? Mind you, your haircuts are half the price, too.

Trips Out 

This month I have take the children to the library theatre twice (holds about 280) for packed out shows. We have been to the Natural History Museum in Tring and the children did drawings of birds and lions.

As you can see, Robert got an exciting race track for Christmas, and if the ink in my printer worked properly you would be able to see it properly.

Yesterday I took them to Saturday Morning cinema here in Luton. That was packed out and excellent value at £1 each adults and children alike.

Computer 

Meanwhile, I have been downloading games from the Internet for them to play. They have enjoyed Elf Bowling (Santa firing elves out of an over-sized Mother Christmas bra), Charlie the Duck (jumping and waddling along avoiding being stung by bees), and Melissa just started Busting Bubbles. All found on Tucows.com or Download.com. My pc is now back in action – I spent Christmas reloading software. I have not yet fathomed out how to make the Logitech quick cam work on my Windows ME system and I am fed up spending time trying to get it working. I am glad I spent money on a firewall and Norton Antivirus 2003. I have caught no end of virus’s in email and have had several attacks on my pc thwarted by this software. Look out for big@boss.com and make sure you do not download anything from it into your email package.

All for now. ALAN

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