Haircut Tae Kwon-Do Relationships Jap @ Bolney
Japanese Auto Extravaganza 2006 Corfu Italian Car Day Run Home
Suspension Upgrade France

This year, I made a New Years Resolution. I don't usually make New Years Resolutions but did this year. I swore to myself never to use a vending machine ever again as they have a habit of not giving you what you want and then retaining the money. It's happened to me too many times, so I decided to put an end to it. The only ones I now use are car park ticket machines.

During August, I made a mid year resolution. For various reasons, I decided to change my attitude to blasť where I decided I should make less of an effort and be less concerned about stuff. I felt much better for it.

To me, If 2005 will be remembered for the crash, 2006 will be remembered for my relationships. During the Summer, Rima & I went on regular Cock 'n' Cunt Hunts together in Crawley, one of which is regretted.

This year I continued my soup diet which I started at the beginning of 2005 and also continued my eBay fest. This year's profit was less than last year's at £250. £155 of that was car magazines which I had sold. I managed to sell 64 out of a 113 car magazines which had been building up in my wardrobe and were just taking up space. Most of which were about Japanese performance cars. This year's collection of 20 pence coins totalled £119.20.

At the end of November, I attended my first job interview since starting in Clinical Coding in September 2003. I decided to make the effort as I need more money (as most people do). I should now make more of an effort to continue my job search but find it difficult to work up the enthusiasm to do so.

Haircut (2nd January):

Throughout 2005 I decided to grow my hair long and most of the time didn't bother combing it either, giving the scruffy "who gives a fuck" look. Just about everyone said I looked very stupid. Bad hair days become more and more frequent and I decided to have a fresh new start to 2006 by having a hair cut. The general consensus was that I did the right thing. Staff at work who I had never spoken to before had congratulated me on the change.

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Tae Kwon-Do (4th January):

After a 10 year sabbatical, I decided to return to Tae Kwon-Do. Between 1994 - 1995, while in school sixth form, I was a member of Global Tae Kwon-Do International (GTI) in Crawley and worked my way up to green belt, blue tag (passed 5 gradings). I loved it, I lived and breathed Tae Kwon-Do. I stopped attending Tae Kwon-Do lessons at around December 1995 while at college. On 04/01/2006 I joined the Crawley Tae Kwon-Do Club which is a part of the Tae Kwon-Do Association Of Great Britain (TAGB). This is coincidently based at exactly the same place as my previous class 10 years ago. I went with a neighbour's 10 year old Son, Simon Williams, who already had been working his way up through the grades having started a few months before hand. As I had forgotten most of which I had learnt years ago, my new instructor soon suggested I should drop down a grade to make it easier to pick up again. After giving it some thought, I decided dropping down two grades would be more beneficial, so went down to yellow belt, green stripe (TAGB uses striped belts instead of tags). I am glad I have taken up Tae Kwon-Do again as I have benefited a lot from it, in so far as that I have lost quite a bit of weight and feel healthier too.

During September & October I attended the two Sunday sparring sessions which were held in preparation for the forthcoming TAGB South East Championships. Even though I wasn't taking part in the championships, I chose to attend the sparring sessions 'cos sparring is what I enjoy the most.

These were one hour dedicated sparring sessions, albeit with a 10 minute warm up at the beginning, between 11:00 - 12:00. My achievements were winning one match against a higher grade (but nearly received a deviated nasal septum in the process) and scoring a point against a black belt / ad-hoc instructor, during a tag team match. The tag team matches consisted of two teams of three students where one person from each team fought at the same time. There were two referees and one lines man. On the other team, I recognised a black belt who also was our instructor for one lesson while our usual instructors were away on holiday earlier in the year. I preyed that I would not go up against him 'cos I knew he would wipe the floor with me. Unfortunately, I did go up against him, I was in disbelief. As expected, I received quite a battering, the right side of my chest received quite a pounding. Rather surprisingly, I managed to score against him. It was either kick to his chest or head, I can't remember. I was surprised that I scored against him, but this probably made him more determined to inflict pain on me. Due to the pounding I received, my chest was in pain for a month afterwards and I also injured my left index finger which took a few months to regain full range of movement, but as of January 2007, it still hurts so may be fractured.

On Sunday 15/10/2006 I went to the TABG South East Championships held at Burgess Hill and it was great. There was probably around 15 - 20 teams there from across the south east and there were also some other teams from further a field including Banbury and Wales. Crawley got the most points so were the overall winners! Yay! Here is a photo of two Crawley TAGB students sparring. The competitions included one-on-one sparring, tag team sparring, single and team patterns (set sequence of moves / stances) and breaking boards. Simon did a pattern (Dan Gun Tul) and came 5th or 6th out of about 20 - 30 in his group which he was not entirely thrilled about 'cos he had won a trophy at a previous event. Much to my disappointment, I didn't see him do it 'cos there were 8 separate areas in the hall so there was lots going on at the same time. It was obvious that some people were gutted when they didn't win 'cos they looked very unhappy afterwards. It was good seeing my instructor taking part in both patterns and tag team sparring 'cos it was the first time I and others in the class have actually seen him in action. Some of the sparring got quite heated but at the end of the matches, the fighters usually thanked each other, shook hands and hug their opponent so overall it was a happy atmosphere. The medics had to be called out on a few occasions. I congratulated a few members of the Crawley team. I chose not to take part 'cos I hate the stress before the fight. I hate the build up to it all. I would have been full of nerves all weekend and wouldn't have been able to sleep. I might have been incontinent of urine too. Then just before you start fighting and you're stood in front of your opponent, you can feel your heart beating hard and fast. I did competitions when I did Tae Kwon-Do in the mid nineties and I was alright at it, but don't fancy putting myself through that psychological torture again. Plus, I'd prefer not to get beaten up in front of an audience.

A few weeks later on 22/11/2006, a photo of most of the Crawley participants was published in the local Crawley Observer newspaper.

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Relationships (10th February - 21st April, 16th June - 16th July & 11th November onwards):

I managed 3 relationships during the year, two failed and one survived.

The first relationship was fun while it lasted, but in retrospect, it was silly & futile. When I look back at it, I realise that it was never gonna work out and we just got a bit carried away.

At the beginning of May, I tried to instigate a relationship with a girl at work who was leaving. If I didn't take action then, I would have regretted it after she left. Nothing came of it. Oh well, her loss.

On a Friday night in mid July, after watching The Fast and The Furious 3 at the cinema with Qasim, I met up with Rima for one of our Cock 'n' Cunt Hunts. We started drinking in Ja Ja Bar at around 9'ish. Our drinks included a Mud Slide or two (milkshake / ice cream cocktail) and shared 10 vodka based shots for £10. The flavours included cream egg, white chocolate, toffee, chocolate mint, tiramisu and more. I would describe the experience as exciting torture. Later we moved on to Brannigans. While drunk, I met a girl who was to become my second relationship of 2006. We were together for a month, I enjoyed it, it ended in July and I was hurt. If I ever see her again, it will be too soon.

The third relationship is with a girl named Marie Williams. We became acquainted during around February time but it went quiet during my first relationship of 2006. I sort of rekindled our interest by sending her an email wishing her a happy birthday before I went on holiday to Corfu at the end of August. Coincidently, we share the same birthday (but Marie is a year younger) and if she was born a male, her name would have been Adam. After I came back from holiday at the beginning of September, things started to slowly move on. During October I had a rather comical close shave with two other girls who I had briefly known. Ironically, it was that experience which was the catalyst in bringing Marie & I closer together. Subsequently, we decided to "see how it goes" during November. Happily, as of the beginning of 2007, the relationship is active.

Oh, and my friend Afraz reckons he is single due to the fact that he is so good looking and successful, women believe he is out of their league so don't go near him. Yeah, OK.

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Jap @ Bolney (8th April):

I took my car to the annual Japanese performance car show held at Bolney. Before driving there, I had to wash my car as it was filthy and it had been raining during the night. I arrived about 11:15 and took me about 15 minutes to find somewhere to park. There was maybe about 300 cars in total. The weather was very bright and sunny, but had a slight chill. After walking around, I chilled out in my car for about an hour and a half before leaving. Here is a photo of my car on show.

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Japanese Auto Extravaganza 2006 (22nd July):

This was the event I had been waiting for, Japanese Auto Extravaganza held in Peterborough, Cambridgeshire. I had the week before the event off work as annual leave, throughout which I spent some of it preparing my car. This included cleaning the engine, cleaning & painting the brake callipers & disc edges, cleaning & waxing inside the wheels, vacuuming & cleaning / polishing the interior, painting the rear facing side of the exhaust back box / silencer in black, then finishing with a wash & wax. At the time, the UK was going through a heat wave so working on the car wasn't easy.

On Saturday 22/07/2006, I left Crawley at about 08:00 after pumping up the tyres and arrived at JAE at about 10:20 after the 130 miles journey. When I arrived, I had to wash the car as it rained on the way there and had been raining over night too. I came prepared with a bucket half full of water in the boot.

I parked my car on the Prelude UK club stand with about 20 other Honda Preludes and here are some photos of my car on show. While I was there, there were only two other 5th generation Honda Preludes on the stand - a black Type-S and a 2.2VTi, the rest were 4th generation Honda Preludes. It was a friendly atmosphere and I spoke to a few members who had their cars on show. Unfortunately, I wasn't in a very sociable mood due to the recent failure of the second relationship that year.

Out of the hundreds of cars on show, I could only see one other 5th generation Honda Prelude which was a dark green 2.2VTi, but the owner of the black Type-S did see another white Type-S in the showground. Club leaflets / flyers were being handed out and I was pleased to see a photo of my car was on two different variations of them.

The weather was very hot and sunny during morning and I was worried about getting sun burnt. Later on, the skies became very dark and I could see forks of lightning in distance. Strong winds then came, which caused some tents and gazebos to take off, people had to hold them down. The black Type-S I was parked next too, had its bonnet up to show its engine bay and its bonnet flipped over and nearly made contact with the windscreen. This was shortly followed by an extremely heavy prolonged rain storm. No pun intended, but it did put a dampener on the day's events. I left between 17:00 - 18:00.

On Sunday 20/08/2006, on the Prelude UK web site, I saw a scan of page 24 of the September edition of Banzai Magazine. I'm standing on the left of the photo below the photo of my car (with my car behind me). I was absolutely over the moon, it was a great feeling. I didn't know photos of my car and the other cars on the stand were being taken for show in a magazine so it was a complete surprise. I bought the magazine the next day.

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Corfu (25th August - 2nd September):

At the end of August, I went on holiday with my friend Rima. Thanks to Rima, we were in wrong queue for 50 minutes. When we joined the proper queue, we was only in it for about 10 minutes. While queuing at MacDonalds after passing through Customs, we witnessed quite an entertaining altercation, which we didn't know what was about. A fat male customer standing at the counter shouted loudly "You fucking cunt" at a member of staff at the serving till. There was a brief silence before he stormed off in a strop while another member of staff had to placate the staff member at the receiving end of the abusive outburst. I found this quite exciting and it was a shame that it didn't escalate into something more entertaining. The plane took off at midnight and the flight to Corfu lasted 2 hours, 40 minutes. During the flight, there was an exciting period of turbulence, which was so strong, I could feel myself lifting off my seat. Passengers were groaning.

We stayed at the "Hotel Koulouris Beach" in Kavos which was conveniently on the sea front and a few minutes walk from the town centre where all the night life was. As soon as I got into our hotel room, I straight away separated mine and Rima's beds. We paid for self catering, but only managed to eat in our hotel room about twice. During the first day we went to a shop to buy food & drink. Two of the drinks I purchased were banana and strawberry milk shake liquors. I drank these back at the hotel room over the week long holiday mixed with milk to further dilute the taste of alcohol. Even though drinking in the Kavos bars is very cheap compared to the UK, it made it even cheaper if I had some alcohol inside me before going out that night. In sterling, a typical "buy one, get one free" cocktail in Kavos was about £3.50. Obviously, we did get drunk on a few occasions but only on one occasion I managed to get so drunk that I was vomiting.

Being in Kavos in Corfu is very much like being in Kardamena in Kos. Same atmosphere, same bars, same shops and both have the persistent bar staff trying to entice you into their premises for food & drink.

As planned, I spent a lot of the holiday relaxing by the swimming pool and reading car magazines (either in the shade or with lots of sun protection cream on).

During the holiday, we became friends with two girls from Yorkshire and three boys from Stoke On Trent, one of which liked touching Rima's large bum, to which she replied "That makes me feel uncomfortable". On Monday it was my birthday and on Wednesday we went on a boat trip to Sivota, which is a village in main land Greece, then to the Blue Lagoon which is a secluded area of crystal clear water where we were allowed to dive off the boat. The sea water tasted very salty though. I done most of my gift shopping on Thursday then on Friday (last day) we went to Aqua Land which was an hour and half away by coach.

At Aqua Land, there were long water chutes, slides, a "lazy river" with large inflatable rubber rings and a wave pool. There were also some attractions aimed at kids. The thing I didn't like about the place was that on some of the chutes / slides, the joins between the individual sections were too large and pronounced which made it quite uncomfortable. The return journey coach was due to depart at 17:00 and we arrived at the waiting area 2 - 5 minutes early. After a few minutes, Rima & I realised that the fucking coach had left without us! A helpful member of staff at the park tried to persuade a couple of coach drivers if they would accept us, but there was no room left. I was in a semi-panic. I had visions of us being left stranded outside the park and subsequently missing the flight back to the UK that night / early next morning. We couldn't make an official complaint to the travel agency due to us being the only two in the predicament which gives the impression that we were the only ones who were late. So we ended up getting a local bus to Corfu Town then a coach from there to Kavos, which we were quite lucky to get a seat on. Corfu Town is a much busier place than Kavos and while we waited for an hour or so, we had a drink in a bar.

After having our last meal back at Kavos, we realised that we didn't have enough money between us to pay for the meal! We apologised to the waiter and he was very understanding and we agreed to come back the next day to settle the bill (not).

When we got to Corfu airport, we had quite a long wait outside and inside the airport and finally landed back at Gatwick Airport at about 07:00. I used two buses to get home and I finally got into bed at 10:45 which meant I had been awake for 28.5 hours which is a record for me.

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Italian Car Day (10th September):

After making my way through the M25 traffic, my Dad & I arrived at Brooklands for Italian Car Day on a warm sunny Sunday morning. Unfortunately, compared to the previous event I attended on 02/05/2004 this one was a disappointment. This was because this event was not organised by Auto Italia magazine. It was quite a disappointment as the amount of cars on show was much less, but cars were coming and going throughout the day. At any single time, there was less than 10 Ferraris (including 308, 355, 550 / 575, Mondial & Dino) and I didn't see any Lamborghinis at all. Two rare cars which stood out were a Lancia Thema 8.32 (V8, 32 valve Ferrari engine) and an absolutely pristine red Lancia Montecarlo owned by a very pleasant owner who I spoke to. One area included quite a few chavved up Fiat Puntos, Stilettos and Cinquecentos. The hill run competition had only about 5 cars taking part, including a Fiat Barchetta, Fiat Cinquecento (with a modified turbo charged engine), two Fiat Puntos and an old yellow Lancia. Their performances were unimpressive and I reckon I would have stood more of a chance of winning in my Honda Prelude 2.2VTi.

Here are some photos which were taken on the day.

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Run Home (17th September):

On this Saturday night, Afraz & I went to the Liquid & Envy night club in Crawley and got a bit drunk. Afraz left before me as I decided to stay a bit longer. After I left the night club at about 02:15, I planned to get a taxi home. I then changed my mind and decided to walk home instead. A 45 minute walk home through Crawley isn't a safe thing to do due to Crawley's reputation of muggings & assaults. Then I had the idea of running / jogging home instead, which I did. I ran / jogged all the way home. I never came to a stop and never slowed down to a walking pace. I kept at a constant speed for the whole journey which took between 20 - 25 minutes. I thought I'd probably give up after about 5 minutes or so, but I was amazed that I just kept on going. This was done wearing shoes instead of trainers and after a few drinks too. A few minutes before I got home, I removed my T-shirt (while still running), so I was running through the streets of Broadfield topless after 02:30. What an odd sight that must of been. When I arrived home, I sat by my door step for about 5 minutes to recover. This accomplishment might not be a big thing to some people, but it definitely was for me. It was probably the longest distance I have ran and also the longest non-stop duration too. Restarting Tae Kwon-Do at the beginning of the year had made a definite improvement to my fitness.

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Suspension Upgrade (10th November):

After considering it for quite a few months, I decided to upgrade my Honda Prelude's suspension, primarily to make it lower to the ground. While having its 54,000 miles service undertaken, Frank G Wickenden Ltd (an independent Honda specialist based in Hove) fitted the optional lowered sports suspension kit from Honda comprising of both springs & dampers. The kit was fitted as standard on the Motegi special edition and possibly some Japanese Domestic Market (JDM) Honda Preludes too.

The kit lowers the car by between 2 - 3 cm and improves handling. I was surprised at amount of difference it made to the handling of the car. The car is much more stable, stays flatter during cornering and there's less body roll too. I can also feel the road more, so I am more aware of what the driving conditions are like. Fortunately, there is hardly any difference in ride comfort. This came as a relief as I was worried that the ride comfort may have been compromised. I had the tracking / alignment checked and adjusted the next day in Crawley before a long drive to Southsea.

The kit cost a total of £408.95, excluding fitting.

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France (16th December):

On a chilly Saturday, my parents & I went on a day trip to France which was arranged by my Dad's workplace. The meeting point was my Dad's workplace in Crawley and the departure was delayed due to a problem with the coach we were to originally use. The coach used the Channel Tunnel to get to France, which was a first time experience for me. If it wasn't for very small windows on the transporting train, you wouldn't know that it was moving.

When we got to France, things didn't go to plan there as the large indoor shopping centre which we were heading to had been evacuated due to a bomb scare. Instead, we went to Calais town centre but stopped off at a small supermarket for some tax free booze shopping on the way, where I bought two or three bottles of Gin on behalf of Joy & her boyfriend John. I didn't buy much in Calais, I bought a cheap bottle of what I thought was a banana milkshake alcoholic drink, like I had in Kos and Corfu. But, on Christmas Eve, I found out to my disgust that it was actually aniseed flavour, so was promptly emptied down the kitchen sink plug hole. While walking around the town centre, I got the impression that a lot of the French people seemed to be wandering around like headless chickens. I tried to persuade my Mum to sample some Escargot (French snail delicacy) which she adamantly refused. On the way back, the coach stopped off to allow us to do some final shopping at a shopping area at the Channel Tunnel portal in France where I bought a bottle of DKNY perfume for my girlfriend Marie.

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