12 Jun 2014
A lot of people write in and ask 'Norman - whatever happened to that
SIPP you started 10 years ago ? Has it produced enough to retire
on ? Was it a lot of work ? Did it outperform the FTSE100 ?'
I took the 'long term buy and hold forever and 'strategic ignorance'
ethos to its logical extreme and forgot about the SIPP
completely. Once all the pension funds were transferred and a
collection of high yielding UK shares purchased, I forgot about it. I
didn't sell any shares. I didn't feverishly check the balance daily. I
didn't panick during the banking crisis of 2008. I didn't respond to
any corporate actions. Occasionally, I bought a new share once enough
funds had accumulated from dividend payments.
The long term performance of my SIPP versus the FTSE also interested
me so recently, I endured the time consuming, arduous and rather
tedious exercise of reconstructing the detailed transaction and
dividend history, spanning 11 years, of my pension portfolio which
produced an interesting graph (courtesy of ft.com).
Not enough to retire on but getting there.
Update: A better comparison is with the FTSE100 (accumulation units)
where dividend income is automatically re-invested.
04 Jun 2014
'Is this Grimm ?'
'Adventures of New Grimm ?'
'New adventures of Grimm ?'
'New: Adventures of New Grimm ?'
'Is this a repeat ?'
29 Oct 2013
People often write in and ask 'Norman - just what is this mysterious
"Music For Sheep" playlist of which you speak ?'
'Music For Sheep' is my favourite music playlist of all time. It has
provided solace and hope during some pretty bleak times. The playlist
is ironically named as a tribute to all the social music sharing
services like Spotify and last.fm which encourage sharing of your
favourite bands, music and playlists. This is a novelty for 12 minutes
but, ultimately a bit irrelevant because, as I remarked way
back in 2006:
'You like your music. I like my music. We may share some common
interests but it really doesn’t matter'.
So why am I posting this ? Well, because initially I created this
playlist on my Android phone for walks around the park and then it got
erased when I had to reset the phone.
Then I used Google Music to store the crucial list of songs for
eternity but I was subsequently so horrified to find this service
sync'ed everything but playlists (coupled with the demise of Google
Reader), I chose to delete the bulk of my Google services.
Then I had a brain wave and created a DokuWiki - primarily to store
this playlist. But then I let my hosting lapse in favour of Amazon S3
so I found myself re-creating it yet again.
Here it is - salvaged from an old DokuWiki backup - not for you as
much as for me.
- Falling Down - Oasis
- She Just Wants To Be - R.E.M.
- These Wooden Ideas - Idlewild
- Crush On You - Brakes
- Sappy (live) - Nirvana
- Little By Litle - Oasis
- Cuyahoga - R.E.M.
- Pilsner Trail - The Fall
- Conversation 16 - The National
- D-7 - Nirvana
- There There - Radiohead
- Vanderlyle Crybaby Geeks - The National
- Here And Now - Ride
- Mistake Pageant - Idlewild
- Carrion - British Sea Power
- Spank Thru (live) - Nirvana
- The Lord's Prayer - Siousxie And The Banshees
- Simple Stuff - Echo And The Bunnymen
Slightly skewed with two songs from The National and surprisngly
nothing from The Smiths or The Chameleons (who I always list in my
favourite bands together with The Fall).
25 Oct 2013
People often write in and ask 'Is Oracle blogging dead ?'
Well, I thought it might be interesting to revisit the list of Oracle
blogs I posted way back in 2007 and see what they're up to.
- Life After Coffee - dead (last post May 2011). The
pressure of the No. 1 slot proved too much.
- The Tom Kyte Blog - frequency much reduced but Tom's a busy
- Rittman Mead - now a multi-user, shiny, corporate blog.
- Oracle Scratchpad - Jonathan Lewis is still going strong.
- Eddie Awad ...so is Eddie.
- Doug Burns - Our favourite Scotsman is still active and
contemplating a migration away from Serendipity.
- Kevin Closson - occasional poster.
- David Aldridge - as above (when something annoys him).
- Tim Hall - still travelling the world, presenting, reading
books and watching weird films.
- Jeff Hunter - resting (inactive since May 2012).
- Peter Scott - alive and well blogging under the Rittman
- Andrew Clarke - sporadic flurries of activity from Tooting.
- Chris Foot - not known at this address.
- William Robertson - still manages to exclaim 'WTF?!'
once a year.
- Howard Rogers - still blogging from Down Under.
- Robert Vollman - resting (since August 2012).
- Andy Campbell - hijacked by spammers. Either that or he
really is pimping satellite TV systems and payday loans.
- Moans Norgaard - pining for the fjords (since July 2010).
- Laurent Schneider - actively blogging about Oracle.
- Lisa Dobson - went to the trouble of getting her own domain and
then neglected it (since Sept 2011). No longer a 'newbie'.
- Jeff Moss - pimping vacations in Florida.
- Beth - Data Geek Gal has been quiet on data quality (since Oct 2012).
- Steve Karam - the alchemist is busy mixing up strange concoctions
involving Hadoop, Hue, Oozie and occasionally Oracle.
- Eric Emrick - nothing since March 2009.
- Alex Gorbachev - busy growing Pythian Corp.
- Robert Baillie - blogging about Agile, Extreme and
project management after a 3 year lull.
- Gary Myers - moved house (still in Oz) but helpfully
remembered the redirect.
- Nuno Souto - still blogging from Sydney.
- Daniel Fink - The Optimal DBA blog has been dropped with
constraints cascaded - which is suboptimal.
- Ed Whalen - wrote a popular book in 2011, got rich on the
proceeds and retired in the Caribbean.
08 Sep 2013
Saturday 7 September was non-league
day. There were no Premiership fixtures and Kingstonian FC had a
number of offers to attract football supporters down to Kingsmeadow
(half price admission for any season ticket holder).
I had attended Kingstonian's opening home league fixture and been
pretty impressed by the new players recruited by Alan Dowse and the
quality of the play in a 3-0 victory over Enfield Town so, on a sunny
afternoon, I paid my second visit of the season to watch the K's.
I like to stand behind the dugouts as you get a good view of all of
the pitch and have the added bonus of hearing the manager's and
coaches shrewed tactical thinking as the game unfolds.
Kingston started quite sluggishly and fell behind after 15 minutes
when Dee Okojie carelessly lost possession on the halfway line and
Duru took advantage by firing past Rob Tolfrey to give the visitors a
Kingston came back without creating many clear cut chances and the
Grays goalkeeper embarked on time-wasting often taking a lengthy drink
and applying sun tan lotion before finally taking each goal kick.
Dowse tirelessly urged his team on shouting 'Keep going - it'll come'
and sure enough, on the stroke of half-time, it did come when Andre
McCollin met a decent cross and planted the ball back past the keeper
into the corner with a firm header.
It wasn't a dirty game was spoiled by some rather fussy and at times
inept refereeeing. In addition, there were a couple of 'handbags at
six paces' confrontrations where all 20 outfield players foolishly
chose to get involved screaming 'Leave it - he's just not worth
it'. Not a great advert for non-league football.
The second half got underway and Gary Abbott, Dowse's Number 2, rather
aptly kept on screaming 'Second ball now, lads', 'Seconds', 'Let's
have seconds'. Martin Tyler (first team coach and Sky commentator)
who has probably had enough of constantly talking during a football
match, remained seated in the dugout for the most part keeping a
dignified silence. The other theme for the day seemed to be
'Squeezing'. Dowse and Abbott repeatedly and loudly kept urging the
players to 'Squeeze'. Sometimes, it was to 'Squeeze 'em' or 'Squeeze
up' or occasionally 'Just fucking SQUEEZE !'.
When his team is defending, Dowse also uses a very strange phrase to
his defenders - it sounds like 'Good foul, good foul now'. As Alan
Dowse has a heavy Geordie accent, I can't make it out properly - it
might be 'Go on now, tackle him and dinnae give away a foul, man' or
it might just be 'Commit a good foul but disguise it so no free-kick
Anyway, I digress - Kingston opened the second half quite brightly
and, after 53 minutes, took a rather undeserved lead given that Grays
had been on top for the first half hour. A carefully rehearsed
free-kick routine saw two players both go to take it simultaneously,
everyone laughed and while Grays were distracted, the ball was thread
past on the blindside of the defensive wall for McCollin to net his
second and put Kingston into the lead.
Five minutes later, McCollin completed a fine hat-trick when some neat
passing from the midfield launched a lightning counter-attack as Grays
were pressing forward for an equaliser and McCollin again finished
with great efficiency.
3-1 to Kingston. Some Grays' heads went down, they lost shape and some
discipline and for a while it looked like Kingston were going to score
every time they crossed the half-way line. The Grays goalkeeper seemed
oblivious to his side''s predicament and continued his infuriating
K's secured victory with a brilliant fourth goal as McCollin completed
a delightful passing move that got most of the coaching staff off
their feet and celebrating with the players. As the chap next to me
said 'It's just like watching Brazil'.
All of this proved just too much for the Grays No. 5. After being run
ragged by McCollin and conceding 4 goals in a match they looked
capable of winning, he finally snapped and, after being penalised for
yet another clumsy foul, yet another pushing and shoving episode
ensued with both linesmen enterting the field of play to try to
Shortly after, both protagonists (McCollin and the No. 5) were
withdrawn by their respective coaches. K's promising midfieder, Dan
Sweeney, picked up a knock which meant he hobbled through the last 15
minutes. The fussy ref made some more bookings and kept marching out
the 10 yards at every single free-kick and a lot of late substitutions
were made by both sides.
K's cruised home and the 4 goal hero, McCollin, ensured that
Kingstonian extended their lead at the top of the Ryman Premier to 1
point over Wealdstone.
An exciting, eventful game packed with incident and goals. Pity only 394
people were there to see it.
Next fixture: Monday 9 September, 19:45 - Bognor Regis (H)