Dont buy the Sun.

Dont buy the Sun.
Hillsborough Justice campaign - Remember the 96.

Monday, 28 April 2008

...The Airstream Trailer..

I finally finished the Airstream trailer. I took this project on because it was a massive challenge - to strip out, design and install a US Airstream trailer in 19 days, completely rewiring it, building all custom cabinets, installing a new floor and fitting it out with about £25,000 of consumer electronics. The trailer is completely wi-fi equipped and features two massive televisions, X-Boxes, a digital projector, iBooks, Iphoto frames, about 16 laptops, stereo amplifiers, a complete surround sound system and all kinds of other useless paraphenalia. The project also interested me because it was well-nigh impossible and I have to admit that vanity played a huge part in doing it - it was a kind of last Hurrah in making wierd stuff full time, as UNiversity in September beckons.

Airstream trailer

I did'nt make all the stuff myself, of course, a team is involved in all of this, but it IS my blog, so Carra, Andy, Andy, Richard, Elliot, Smithy, Paul, Josh and LUke shall all remain nameless, even though I suppose they did help a bit.

Now that's over normal service shall be shortly resumed.....

Saturday, 26 April 2008

couch in a pouch

Anna and I are testing out a new on-line community. Couch surfing ( At last count, about 1/2 million people over the world with a desire to travel on the cheap and meet new people. You can offer your couch to others, or ask to crash on someone else's when you're on the road. Not sure how many couches we will be sleeping on, but it seems like a cool way to meet the worldly and adventurous people that we're both partial to. Nice way to pay back some of the karma for all the kind faces when I was backpacking as well. :) Our first surfer arrives this weekend, so we'll give updates if anyone is interested.

Friday, 25 April 2008


After years of thinking she didn't haver a 'type', Anna assembled pics of a few faces she has a crush on. :)

Friday, 18 April 2008


We just got back from 10 days in Cozumel, Mexico. We walked around town, ate lots of great Mexican food (better food and cheaper prices the further we walked away from the touristy waterfront area), visited the mainland to see the Mayan ruins at Tulum, had poolside siestas in the afternoons, drank margaritas and dos equis...but spent most of our time SCUBA diving. Most of our dives were in the daytime but we also did some night dives with flashlights (Carl 2, me 1). All of the dives were spectacular! Some of the coral formations were breathtaking. A number of dives included amazing coral swim-throughs. There was tons of life on the reefs - little fish and big fish, ordinary fish and exotic fish, beautiful fish and butt-ugly fish (the so-called splendid toadfish falls into this latter category). But the highlight were the tortugas (Spanish for sea-turtles). We saw several turtles on the majority of our dives. I've attached a few pictures. On some of the underwater pictures, the flash wasn't used and so the corals look white.

Thursday, 17 April 2008

The Delayed Blog from Hull...

Entries from me are currently on hiatus until the middle of next week. This is entirely due to the Trailer project I mentioned a few weeks ago which is currently involving an impossible number of hours. If decisions to become edercated aint already haddna been happened, then I wouolda been looking elsewhere for work after this nightmare.

Saturday, 12 April 2008

cat nap
I haven't checked, but it may come in bunny too. :)

Saturday, 5 April 2008

The New Recruit

Carra, the New Recruit and I have reached an accommodation, of sorts.

In work, Carra and I are kept busy completing the strip out of a forty year old Airstream trailer while attempting not to vomit. The aluminum cocoon has been imported direct from a trailer park in Alabama for the sum of £13,000 from a UK based dealer, and we are tasked with converting it to a high-tech touring advertisement for a chain specializing in computer sales . A very similar item can be found here:">

on eBay for £800. Based on the Large-Nickson experience of importing goods to the different countries, import costs for this item would have been about £4000, including all taxes and fees. When the trailer arrives, sundry Project Managers, Marketing Executives, Salesmen and Company Directors gather to congratulate themselves on their business acumen in acquiring such a "classic" while Carra and I vacuum up the mountains of half-eaten moldy hamburgers, rodent nests (complete with embryos), pigeon feathers, mouse droppings and cigarette butts that are exposed after the cabinets have been torn out. The coup de grace comes when the bathroom waste sump is exposed, it's contents still liquid as it has not been flushed and the sluice gate is pressed firmly shut.

Tempers fray in these circumstances (particularly mine), especially when I discover that the schedule for reconstructing the inside of the Airstream is ten days. This means long hours, weekends and massive pressure to fabricate and fit a month's work of high-spec custom cabinetry. Alex, the genius salesman who devised this project, drops by to inspect the work in progress. he runs his hand lovingly down the sides of the derelict, and drawing on his experience, and the shrewd eye of a man who watches a lot of television programmes about restoring old cars says:

"What d'ya reckon Martin, 3/8 rivets holding this baby together?"


"3/8 rivets - that's all that's holding the shell together.I'd love to get my tools out, get my hands dirty on this baby....."

Alex is obviously smitten with the Airstream, and he continues,

"....And just pure craftsmanship and design. Can't get the skills who'd have the first clue working on this thing, these days, can we? "

I suggest that if this is the case, perhaps, being contemporaneous, I should stop work.

Alex, sensing that for some unfathomable reason 'his' workers are less than deliriously happy at the prospect of cancelling their lives for 10 days, sighs heavily and gets serious, telling me that I should let him know if I need any help, "any help at all, with getting this job out".

I suggest that Alex might want to come in at the weekend with his tools. There will be plenty of work with rivets. Alex suddenly remembers an urgent phone call to a supplier he has to make, and promises "I'll check in with you later, big guy", before disappearing completely for the subsequent two days.

I'm still fuming later that day as we complete the strip out and I get to grips with the plans for the interior rebuild. I step outside to have a quiet reflective cigarette (one of the devilish hooks of the addiction that sustain the habit is it's ability to offer 'respite' from work situations) and gradually calm down, fortified by the knowledge that for me, scholarly activities await in the none-too-distant future, an existence I anticipate as being completely unblogworthy, as I'll have nothing to complain about. I also write Version 25 of my resignation letter with some relish, this time debating whether to use the phrase "patronizingly glib marketing-speak" or "profiting on the backs of the worker's sweat" in the opening sentence of Page 3, Paragraph 5.

I'm joined by Carra.

"Fuckin 'ell, Martin, that were some graft, that were, won't it?"

I agree. He's worked really hard in horrible conditions and he's not getting paid well for it. We're wearing full environmental suits, respirators, face masks and the trailer is very cramped. It was indeed some graft.

Carra continues "I'm so fuckin hot. I'm sweating like a n****** on a rape charge. In Alabama."

He chuckles at his witticism.

I explode, at least verbally and explain to him what I should have explained the first time I heard him using this kind of language. For a second he just looks at me as if this is a riposte to his 'joke', then realizing that it's not, Carra apologizes, to me. This is something I hate - no-one needs to apologize to me for using racist language, as I'm not the subject of it, and Scouse jokes aside, have never experienced racism. I have however heard a lot of unbelievably crude, cruel language and attitudes expressed in Yorkshire since we arrived here, and I have failed to say anything. I do'nt remember the Englsih working class being, en masse, as crass, ignorant and stupid as this, although I might be wrong. I'm probably mad at myself, but I tell him;

"I don't want you to apologize to me. I do'nt care what you think, I'm not going to change your mind. I just do'nt want to hear your stupidity or ignorance. All you have to remember is that your talking about people I consider family and friends, so I'll tell you once. Don't use language like that around me. I can't change you, but I do'nt want to hear it. End of story."

Carra looks taken aback. We've gone from chums to conflict in a very short period of time, and he has absolutely no idea why. For my part, it is not the most eloquent speech I've ever given, and I'm not entirely sure that my motives are'nt driven by guilt more than high morals, but Carra seems to take the main message on board.

"Alright, man, no need to get at me, I did'nt know you were touchy. No offense, mate."

I have to work with him, at least for the time being, and I believe that I have as little chance of changing his worldview as I do of persuading Alex to help out at the weekend, so the encounter finishes with an accommodation. We return to our task after another smoke. An accomodation has been reached.