Thursday, 30 December 2010

end of '10

I didn't make a new year's resolution this year. Instead I said a new year's prayer at a Japanese shrine (somewhat cooler, I feel) Read about that here if you're interested :)

As I mentioned in my previous post, I intended to post my new year's resolution on this very blog as a means of public accountability, although now I think I'll do what I did last year again instead of making a new year's 'resolution', as it were. It's only a shame that this time I won't be able to say it at a Japanese shrine!

It's a bit long winded and involved to post here in its entirety, so I'll give a brief summary:

Don't take any bullshit, especially from yourself. Basically meaning:
  • No making excuses about not getting things done, just do them
  • Learn the difference between relaxing and being lazy
  • Work towards achieving that which I want to achieve

Although these goals aren't quantifiable or really measurable, I think they will serve me well (and of course, they're open to adaptation if necessary) My mum used the resolution "just do it" one year and managed to generally be more productive than usual, though because it wasn't quantifiable, she didn't feel pressured when having a lazy day / week. This is important I think; if your resolution is too strict, it's going to discourage you if you don't manage to stick to it! My mum has since used the resolutions "have more fun" and "drive through more puddles"; both of which have had the same benefits, and are, in my opinion, amazing.

Anyway, that's enough musing for now.

Happy new year to you all!

Monday, 27 December 2010

public accountability


We've all had the feeling before that we'd like to change something about ourself. Whether it's looking in the mirror and deciding you want to go to the gym, looking at your bedroom and deciding you want to lead a tidier life, or whatever else. I think we've all also had the feeling that sometimes, it's really hard to take the first step.

I know I have.

I mentioned this inspirational blog in my last post. One of the posts that stood out (not only because it was the first one I read), entitled "Don't Know What You're Doing With Your Life" gives some interesting advice on how to take the first step, and also gives some ideas for subsequent steps. I recommend reading the post.

He writes:

If you try to become excellent, normal people will judge you. Fuck them. Seriously, I said it and I meant it. Fuck ‘em. I gradually quit drugs, drinking, tobacco, refined my diet, quit sugar, etc, etc. – every time I heard discouragement and crap from people. Fuck them. When I dropped out of high school, I heard discouragement and crap from people. When I dropped out of university to start building a company, I heard discouragement and crap. When I started traveling, I heard warnings and discouragement and crap. If you try to be excellent, you’re going to constantly be hearing warnings and discouragement and crap. Listen a little if the person seems to know what they’re talking about, but don’t be discouraged. If you’re trying to be expansive and they’re telling you to be cautious, they’re probably wrong and you’re probably right. No one else says this, so I’m happy you emailed me – I’ll say it. Fuck them. They’re not bad people per se, but people do terrible things. I quit sugar or starting eating healthier and people want to drag you back down, “C’mon, have one slice of pizza… it’s just a bite of cake… c’mon, you can have one drink…” – I still can’t explain exactly why people do it, but I think it’s to protect their own identity. As you become excellent, you show them what they could be, and it hurts them. Viscerally. So don’t be too upset, your excellence hurts people to some extent. Expect constant discouragement from normal people. Eventually you’ll build a social circle of high-achieving, ambitious, expansive, cool, worldly, giving, encouraging, awesome people, and then you’ll be successful and normal people will envy and hate you, but you won’t care because you’ll have transcended it. So yeah, discouragement and warnings and crap? We all get it on the road to success. Don’t take it too seriously. Don’t hate people for doing it, but don’t give in either.

I find this to be interesting advice, mainly because I'm not quite sure how to take it. I can acknowledge that people will try to hold you back, often without realising it or knowing why. This is a response that could be / probably already is the basis for psychological study, but also one I do not currently know enough about to discuss. The thing I'm not sure about is the implication that if your friends do this (intentionally or otherwise) you should leave them behind in favour of the "high-achieving, ambitious, expansive, cool, wordly, giving, encouraging, awesome people" you'll meet later. I'm friends with all of my friends for a reason: that each of them already fit most of the criteria outlined above, and we all have strong friendships that have been built up over time. Friendships I wouldn't give up for anything, let alone a bit of discouragement.

So while I would definitely recommend the post as a whole, I hope people will think twice (thrice, even) before abandoning any of their friends who are unable to fight their evolutionary programming and find themselves slightly jealous / disheartened when they see you improving yourself. Perhaps if this is the case, they need some encouragement themselves?

Something else I found helfpul is the idea of public accountability (an idea I've encountered before but was reminded of when reading Seb Marshall's blog.) If you set yourself a goal and fail, no one's going to help you achieve it / punish you for not achieving it if they don't know about it. The suggestion of telling someone about your goals so you can be held accountable if you fail to achieve them therefore, seems like a good one. (Unless you're Nick Clegg and the goal is abolishing tuition fees - OH!)

This being the case, I will be posting my new year's resolution to my blog in the hope that my single-digit reader base may thrash me into action should I slip up throughout the year.

Wednesday, 22 December 2010


I'm currently in a test room of an academic Psychology building, having my blood sugar something measured as part of some study I don't know anything about. Every fifteen minutes my finger is punctured and the resulting blood collected for analysys, hence the post title.

I am confined to this room, unable to eat, drink, or exert myself, for three hours per session. This is so any changes in my blood sugar can be more accurately attributed to the study. Thankfully, those carrying out the study realised the inanity (word?) of three hours' solitary confinement, and provided a computer for participant use.

I have therefore spent a significant amount of time surfing the internet today. I set up a wittily-titled justgiving page for the 550 mile bike ride to Berlin I will doing in April. I read a rather inspirational blog. I engaged in banter with several friends on Facebook. Several emails have also been sent.

After this session, I'm going to work for three and a quarter hours, before getting a coach home for the Christmas period - something I'm looking forward to tremendously. Due to inconvenient arrangements all round, Christmas with my family will be divided into three: Christmas Eve with my parents and bro, Christmas Day with my uncle and his family, and Boxing Day with my grandparents and cousins. On the bright side, however, this arrangement permits me three Christmas dinners.

Om, nom, nom.

Sunday, 5 December 2010


I say, it's been a month since my last constructive post. How marvellously lazy of me. It's at times like this when I notice how cyclic some aspects of my life are, most specifically my blog cycle, which reads something like this: period of remarkable fecundity > attempt to schedule posts, thereby promoting regularity > drastic lapse in the frequency of my blogging > repeat. I recall this happening at least 3 times since (p)latitudes came to be, and each time I've apologised for my hiatus periods, promising to blog more consistently from now on.

Well this time, I won't make that promise. It doesn't seem to work, and quite honestly, the pressure of having to post consistent, meaningful, well structured updates is too much to handle. Can't a blogger just blog when they feel like it? When something particularly worthy of note needs to be recalled? When an item of interest is found that needs to be shared?

The short answer is "yes".

The long answer is "yes, of course. In fact, no one ever suggested otherwise, and the vicious cycle you're describing stems only from your deranged desire to impose order on something that does not necessarily need to be ordered. I.E. blogging. Now stop being so dull, and instead write something that provides a meaningful contribution to the blogosphere's rhetoric, you prick."

I prefer the short one, myself.

Here's a short piece of prose about the last 26 hours:

Last night, we planned to go to the pub. Instead Alex, Emily and I ended up sitting on the sofa, drinking whisky, port and whisky respectively, and talking about subjects close to our heart. It was rather nice. Bonding was had. Or perhaps done. The evening then developed into a nearly-house-wide drinking session, and involved, among other things, me nearly setting myself on fire.

Today, after discovering my laptop keyboard had been broken due to a port inundation, Alex and I headed to campus for what was planned to be a 10 hour work sesh. We started in an eatery, where I ate, before being moved on by techies who were setting up for something. Location 2 was the union pub, where we worked peacefully for an hour or so before being moved on by football fans who were staking their noisy claims for the upcoming match. Location 3 was library A, where we were unable to find a suitable work area. Location 4 was library B, where we were able to work without any severe harassment for an hour or so, before heading home with the intent of eating food.

Food was got, and subsequently eaten.

Then I worked some more, before deciding it was time to blog.


Tuesday, 2 November 2010

week #3, 25/10-31/10, 2 supermarkets, £15, 5.35am

(I just realised that I missed something out, but I've mentally prepared myself from bed so I'll add it tomorrow)

Sorry this is late. Last week was a good'n and I ran out of time.

This post will involve anniversaries, halloween festivities, antagonism and bordering-on-alcoholism. But not in that order. Also ceremonies.

Anniversaries: Monday was the one year anniversary of Alex's random suggestion that I move into Huron (formerly his, then our, house in Canada (for those of you who don't know.)) Obviously something had to be done to commemorate this occasion, and that something was the consumption of illicit kebabs (illicit because we both recently became vegetarian (for those of you who don't know.)) Several schemes were hatched for how to get aforementioned moral contraband into the house, my favourite of which was to ring El Faro's and place the order from Alex's room in the basement, then send me to collect them under the guise of going to the shop. I would then post the food through Alex's window, before entering the house through the front door with a bag containing two cans of Coke (maintaining the illusion of shop-going), and joining Alex in the basement.

In the end, though, we decided to abandon the unnecessary semblance and eat the greasy, meaty goodness out in the open (i.e. in the living room.) Comments were made by shocked housemates, but none too scathing as to hinder our kebab enjoyment.

Halloween festivities and bordering-on-alcoholism: As you're probably aware, Sunday was Halloween: that one day in the year when it is socially acceptable to harass people for sweets in their own homes. It is also just another day in the year when it is socially acceptable for students to drink, dress like idiots, and take to the streets in a potentially menacing fashion.

We planned to go to the union as a house on Friday 29th in fancy dress, and party. Unfortunately, though, Chris C has been ill all week and was unable to join us. He was so ill, in fact, that he couldn't even join in our predrinking session :( George drove us to ASDA to procure cheap alcohol in the early evening. Cheap alcohol which was used to fuel a game of Ring of Fire. My triple Blueberry Smirnoff and lemonade was thrown away because it was mistaken for water, which was slightly upsetting, but aside from that, Emily falling over onto the table, and some rowdy disagreements about the rules, the game was fairly standard.

The union night turned out to be fun. Tom and I dressed as Backwards Men (backwards clothes), each with a different mask on the back of our head, and we'd practiced some backwards dance moves beforehand which we dropped at every opportunity. (Backwards dance moves are moves which give the illusion that the backwards man is in fact the front of a person, although there's something subtly wrong with the movements. Overall it's quite a creepy thing to see.) We stayed in the rock room for a while, dancing to some mad choonz, before going outside to cool off in the smoking area. It was here that I found £15 on the floor, before being told by a bouncer who'd seen me pick it up that it was his, and forced me to hand it over. Absolute bullshit, especially considering it definitely wasn't his.

After cooling off and being mugged, we went into the club proper to dance to shitty pop music, old and new. Alex fled at this point, unable to handle the concentrated cheese that was flying our way. The rest of the house sustained however, and we had some fun. Luckily the club closed at 3.30 and we were able to go home and mong out for a while before bed.

Halloween festivities continued on Saturday, when we went to Jay's house party. It's the first time I'd seen his house, and it made a good impression! Cake made by him and his housemates was on offer (and delicious), as was a cracking party. It took a while for us to get involved, but once we did it was a good laugh. I even saw someone throw up into a pint glass (something I'm seeing an upsettingly high amount of recently...) It wasn't all peachy, however. It was after this party that we encountered

Antagonism: After splitting into two groups to walk home, one who thought route A was quickest and one who though route B, we decided to stride purposefully across the park singing "Hey, Jude". Some undesirables saw this, and decided the best route to take was one of aggression.. Banter was had. One of the lads introduced himselves as "Your Worst Nightmare" which was intrinsically unsettling. Another looked particularly menacing, and it was this one whom Kristian chose to counter-antagonise. Luckily no blows were exchanged: I managed to send them away with (fake) directions to the (fake) party we had just "attended" (i.e. I convincingly bullshitted them into going to a party that didn't exist.)

I hate shit like that.

Some other stuff happened in the week as well, but I'll just summarise it in a list because it isn't particularly interesting: assessment, ill tutor, confusion, Psychology pub quiz, Morrisons, 15 hours at work, errands.

Monday, 25 October 2010

week #2, 18/10-24/10, an account of awesomeness

Went to Bexleyheath on the morning of the day I left to get socks, change something at Natwest, and do some other boring tasks. Said goodbye to family. Left London in high spirits.

Arrived in Leeds in average spirits, got to the train station to find I'd missed the hourly train by 15 minutes, so bought a Boots meal deal and sat on a bench. Overheard one side of a cretinous conversation regarding the Illuminati, speculation as to whether fish sweat, and various other mundane / idiotic topics. Boarded the train, relieved that aforementioned conversationalist hadn't followed me.

Arrived at 18 Knowle road in ambivalent spirits, which were quickly hightened by a hug from Kristian and a can of Strongbow from Alex. Was introduced to Tom and Frankie and Tom. Saw new layout of living room, remarked upon it, and also remarked upon the range of artwork that had been put on the walls. Most of which are by Kristian in his trademark style. Also noticed the Banter Chart, which was explained to me as a system, created by Kristian, Tom and Alex, to record the banter ability of house members. A point is awarded when a comment is deemed "banterous" by 2 members of the house who are not the banterer or banteree. Banter cannot be overly hurtful or unfunny (lest it be deemed "shanter" (a portmanteau of shit banter)).

Settling into the house was smooth and enjoyable, and the atmosphere has been consistently pleasant since I arrived: everyone gets on well, no issues have been raised beyond the likes of "who ate my cheese", banter has been had, house members regularly convene for the purpose of bonding and shared social activities, and the supply of toilet paper has not been interrupted. Yet.

For the first few days George and Emily were not present in the house, meaning we were incomplete. Social activities still took place, but there absence was certainly felt. Especially at the first screenings of 'Surfer, Dude', which has been affectionately adopted as "house film". (I could (and may, in the future) write a whole post on this film.) (Also, I think Alex, Kristian and Tom had watched the film 2 or 3 times before I arrived, and we watched it at least twice more in the first week.)

22nd September played host to Oceansize at the Cockpit; my first concert in Leeds as a Leeds student. How exciting. We (the current house mates) trained into town, went for a pint at a local pub, then went to the gig. (The pub may have been afterwards, actually.) The music fitted loosely into all of our music tastes which was good. I prefer the heavier songs whereas most of the others prefer the longer, mellower, more Post-rocky ones. (Un)fortunately, depending on your perspective, the set was tilted more towards the former. Mainly because they're promoting the new album which also tilts more towards the former. The acoustics weren't too great meaning some of the band's characteristic awesome melodies were distorted, which was unfortunate.

Critique of the concert, including acoustics, songs played, talent of support bands and much more was discussed on the way home (or in the pub, I can't remember properly ;_;)

During the day on Sunday 24th, Kristian, Alex and I went to an ultimate frisbee welcome session at the park. It was fun, the people were nice and we were taught the basic throws. Emily and George then arrived in the evening, finally completing the house. If I remember correctly, we spent the evening talking about recent events and eating food from El Faro's (a nearby takeaway, "the best by far-o".) El Faro's has served us well since living here: they do a mean chips and cheese for only £1.60, as well as 12" pizzas for as low as £4. They also have an enticing range of kebab related products which I haven't tried yet - since living in Leeds I've been vegiterean (for a combination of reasons.)

Ultimate frisbee was the basis of one of the first interesting outings of the house also. At 1.50 on a Tuesday we started walking to a training session half an hour away that started at 2. Since punctuality wasn't on the agenda, we stopped by Sainsbury's for lunch, then by Alex and I visited his old halls of residence for the toilet and a tour. The inter-block rivalry was explained to me, relics of Alex and Kristian's time here were shown, and various anecdotes told. We then decided to investigate a nearby defunct nuclear bunker, which I may have mentioned in a previous post. It was behind an unimposing fence, there were no signs warning against entry (we checked), and we were merely looking around, but we still managed to offend the site security guard (who appeared out of thin air) with our presence. So much so that he advised us to leave before he got us arrested.

We did so, fleeing back to the nearby frisbee game (to which we were now over an hour late), and sitting meekly at the sidelines until we were noticed. When we were noticed, we were invited over and introduced to some more people, then taught some more of the basic throws before being injected into separate friendly games. Neither of us had any clue on the rules, so we just pretended to know what was going on for a while before the games were disbanded and people drifted towards the free Red Bull. Someone also threw a frisbee at my head. There was a social in the pub afterwards but unfortunately I forgot my ID so went home.

My second week in Leeds was the first week of lectures. Aside from the intro lecture on the previous Friday I'd never been to Leeds for academic purposes, so I was pretty pumped. Introductory lectures were had, staff were introduced, most seemed nice. Deadlines, assessment methods, school rules and regulations were explained. All very informative. I have no exams this year and only ~15,000 words of written assessment, which is rather marvellous. Since intro week, all my lectures have been interesting. I'm doing analysis of tonal music (fairly standard stuff), music, culture and politics in the 60s (hugely interesting), psychology of music (ditto), projects in performance (which involves learning and performing in a concert for Gamelan (an Indonesian ensemble)), and composition (in music concrete.) I was slightly sceptical about the latter but it seems to be really interesting; for our first session we were given sound recorders and let into the wild to record sound samples to be manipulated later. I'll post my compostion once it's done for people to listen to :3

Despite my efforts to be dilligent this year, I've managed to miss 3 lectures already. The first two were in the second week, when the stress of being in a new place, having loads going on, not wanting to waste my time, worrying about money, and several other things peaked and I had a mini-crisis. I posted a couple of times about it previously so I won't go into it again, but it all seems to be better now anyway. I was offered (and subsequently accepted for) a job I applied for in May this year, which alleviated financial concerns, which in turn allowed me to better organise my time, which in turn allowed me to insert various events and work periods into my diary. I've also joined some societies and things just generally seem more manageable now. Everyone has rough patches, so I'll say no more about it.

Midway through the second week of term I went back home for a dinner at my Grandparent's house with three of my cousins. Two of whom live locally, and a third from Australia who was on a holiday in Europe between June and early October. It was really nice to see people at home, especially becuase I potentially expected not to go home at all until Christmas, and it was especially good to see Tristan (aformentioned Australian cousin) again before he went home. (N.B. I'm aware of the fact that I'm repeating words within sentences (such as 'especially' in the previous sentence and 'allowed' in the penultimate sentence of the previous paragraph (and the word 'previous' in this one)), so don't take it as a sign of poor prose!)

Tristan joined me when I headed back to Leeds the next day, and stayed with us for two nights. The first day was spent in a lecture, at the market, eating chips and cheese from El Faro's (after my poutine went horribly wrong) and watching Surfer, Dude. We looked around the campus a bit the next day, had breakfast with a friend, then went to Fruity (union club night) in the evening. The queue for tickets was slightly outrageous, but we managed to get one and proceeded to go in and drink large amounts of alcohol: between us we had *at least* 14 pints, 10 vodka Red Bulls and 4 Jägerbombs. I think they water it down or something though because neither of our levels of drunkness matched the alcohol we consumed. We danced in the club section of the union a bit, then I was grabbed by a frisky fresher who wanted to do adult things. (Un)fortunately (again, depending on your perspective), nothing happened. Instead Tristan and I decided to head home because he had an early coach in the morning.

Since Tristan left, we've had other foreign guests staying in the house through several resident's Couchsurfing pages. The first, Lara from Australia, joined us for an Inbetweeners sugarfest involving trifle, angel delight and various sweets, a night in a union bar, and a screening of Shaun of the Dead. (Inbetweeners on Monday nights was a house bonding session, except for Kristian who went elsewhere to watch it EVERY time.) The second couchsurfer, Chrissy from NZ, is staying with us currently. The plan is to eat fajitas, drink White Russians, and go the a local pub for pints, pool and darts. A house meeting is scheduled for next week to determine the future of couchsurfing in our house.

It was in the union pub with Lara that we watched the Channel 4 debate regarding tuition fee increases, which was filmed in the Refectory (the union canteen, just upstairs.) The atmosphere inside was buzzing - students were both outraged at aforementioned increases, and aroused (not sexually) that a national news station was filming a potentially iconic debate at our university. At one point students tried to invade the proceedings upstairs but were apprehended by security, warranting a cheer from the crowds (and probably also lowering the nation's opinion of students.)

It was also in the union pub that we've competed in a pub quiz each Thursday for the last 3 weeks. Unfortunately (there is no question of perspective for this one) we've lost each time, often by surprisingly narrow margins. We seem to have an uncanny ability to identify the incorrect option when we have two possible responses for a question. Our scores have been 42/60 (winner got 48, we answered exactly 6 50/50 questions wrong), 41/60 (winner got 46) and 38/60 (winner got 46 here, we got creamed.)

Next in my account is the house Otley Run, although it's covered here so just go read that instead :)

On Wednesday October 13th, I boarded a coach to Newcastle to meet my good friend Hel. Once there, we dined in Pizza Hut, caught up on the last few weeks, and saw DARWIN DEEZ at a charming little venue in a Biological Lab complex (true story.) As usual, Deez delivered and I had a smashing time. This time they had cheese on the merch table, and gave (and subsequently signed) apples to random members of the crowd. The set was good, the acoustics were good, and I spoke to a reported from a local paper who'd interviewed the man himself pre-gig. The crowd was full of badly dressed indie punters which was a bit of a shame.

After the gig we caught a train to Durham while discussing our life ambitions, then walked through the (lovely) town to Hel's college, got changed, and went to Klute. According to some trashy magazine (among the likes of Nuts), Klute is the worst nightclub in Europe. It was voted second in the magazine's poll, but #1 burned down shortly afterwards. Considering what I'd heard though, it was surprisingly nice. 4 shots of vodka in orange and cranberry juice was just £4, doubles were £2, and the queues were short. I heard The Quaddy (4 vodka shots) was illegal to sell in one cup, so they give you 2 doubles to mix yourself, although I've also heard since that this is in fact an urban myth that clubs are quite happy to continue existing and it's actually legal. Who knows, eh?

When I got back to Leeds on Thursday, I went to half a lecture before meeting James to go pick up our German friends from the coach stop. Their coach was around an hour late, so we went on a cruise around the town and realised how terrible the roads in Leeds are: they're all either one way, poorly signposted, or both. Nevertheless we cranked out some mad choonz and had a good laugh before heading back to the bus stop and greeting Nora and Sandra. We then drove back listening to funky jazz and hooting at pedestrians, which, immature as it may be, is jolly good fun.

After arriving home and exchanging greetings/introductions, we recruited James to drive us to Morrison's so we could pick up groceries and other supplies for the weekend. Meal ingredients were bought for each night, as well as several impulse purchases including Ben & Jerries 2 for £3 and Linda McCartney pies. The others then tried to buy alcohol but only Alex was allowed because James forgot his ID and Nora and Sandra were behind him in the queue. On the way back to the car park, we saw a trolley monkey with ~40 trollies. James attempted witty banter by saying "I don't think you'll need that many trolleys!" to which aforementioned monkey replied in slow monotone "no, but other people will." I don't think he quite understood :/

Thursday evening was pub quiz night at the union bar, so we had a couple of beers and headed down. Some of us were given a lift by James, which was nice. Despite having 12 people on our team, we only managed to scrape 41 points, but it was still fun. Drinks were had, table football, pool and ItBox were played, £1 was won on the latter, before we retired for the evening and went home.

On Friday Nora, Sandra and I walked to a coffee shop just off campus for Strawberry Capuccinos (something that grabbed my interest when I was there before in March (or May?)), which were surprisingly nice. We brainstormed the day's plans over our coffees, then exchanged phones and headed in different directions. (I took Nora's phone so I could phone Sandra when my lecture finished (my phone doesn't work with foreign numbers), we would then reconvene and collect Ceara from the station.) Lecture went well, phonecall went well, we arranged to meet, and Ceara had wandered a bit while she waited so she was closer to us than expected. We all regrouped in Nando's, and had impulse food (chips!) and a brief catch up, before going home via the station (and tourist information office.)

Beer was purchased on the way home also, and Ceara and Nora were briefly ridiculed for deciding to drink shandy for this evening's Centurion (100 shots in 100 minutes, for the noobs.) Greetings/introductions were exchanged again for Ceara, then we quickly started the Centurion so as not to miss too much of DARWIN DEEZ later. James downloaded an app on his phone for the timer, and we listened to some music to get the proceedings going.

As Centurions go, it was a good one. Lots of drinks were spilled prompting "Wooo"s and other such ejaculations, 'Surfer, Dude' was watched, although I'm pretty sure no one was paying attention, and stimulating conversation was had. Ceara, Nora and I then left for the station, sat on the platform for ages being cold and needing the loo, then got the train into town. The venue is right next to the station, so we managed to get there in good time. (Un)fortunately we missed both support bands (you know the (un)fortunately deal by now.)

Once again, Deez delivered. This time their set was structured completely differently to 'usual': they danced new dances, did different intros for their songs, and offered a different flavour of banter. They also requested a member of the crowd to join them on stage again, and he took it on himself to climb on the stage 20 minutes later without invitation, prompting Deez to call security. lol. There was no encore which was vageuly upsetting, but we managed to meet Mr Deez instead which is obvs better. I've met/spoken to him 4 out of 5 times now, huzzah!

We decided to stay at the venue's club night after the gig, but we had to leave for 45 minutes between 10.15 and 11 because of some arbitrary venue policy. I asked the bouncer why, saying it must be a "logistical nightmare" to get everyone in and out again (I was a bit drunk), but he maintained that we had to leave. We retired to a nearby cheap pub during the interlude for £1.81 pints and conversation. I was told that I look like Leo Sayer by a hilarious punter.

The club night was good. I started feeling a bit queasy after busting some awesome moves, so I went outside for a breather and was joined by Nora. We talked a bit, amused ourselves looking at the drunkards stumbling about the place, then decided to head home with whoever wanted to leave. This turned out to be everybody, so we went to a takeaway, then started walking. Somehow we split into two groups: Ceara, Nora and me, and the rest. We got home last, because I got confused and took us the stupid route. It was fun though so who cares.

We introduced Nora and Sandra to the English Breakfast on Saturday morning, complete with black pudding (and chips, for some reason.) I had my first veggie full English which was interesting (and nice.) The greasy spoon we went to was absolutely packed, so we ended up sitting outside and being cold. After food we rushed home to meet Camille on Skype; she'd woken up early (8am Canada time) to talk to us. It was nice having so many people from Toronto there talking!

After Skype was the second Otley Run in a week, and this one was at least equally as awesome as the last. (It's very hard to compare, so I shalln't bother.) We bought cheap face masks at the fancy dress shop between pubs 2 and 3, allowing us to tick the "fancy dress" box. We also only missed out one pub on the way to the union this time, and we managed to pace ourselves better. Ceara and I nearly got run over crossing the road to a kebab shop Alex had hidden in, we hijacked the jukebox/dancefloor in one pub, saw a fight starting in another, and lolled at 'someone' (not me) throwing up in a pint glass in a third. Same as last time, we stopped at the union because most people were either too drunk or tired to move on. One group walked home, another got a cab. We then made 4 pizzas with various toppings as postlash food, at least 75% of which was consumed by me and Ceara. Awesome.

I woke up groggily on Sunday to a text from James asking what time he should pick us up for our Blackpool adventure. Luckily I managed to persuade him that 12 was more realistic than 11, allowing us to have breakfast one last time as a group before Nora, Sandra and Ceara went to their respective homes. We then got in James' car, dropped Ceara in town, said goodbye, and began our journey to Blackpool. Aside from a house in the middle of the motorway and the highest motorway point in England, it was fairly uneventful. We refuelled on McDs before dropping our stuff at James' house, then went, against his parents' recommendation, to the Pleasure Beach. They advised us against it because it would only be open for 3 more hours, but despite this fact and the £30 entry fee, it was still great fun.

Nora hurt her ankle just before we started driving up so she wasn't up for walking around too much, a problem we solved with the use of a wheelchair in James' garage. We took turns pushing Nora, and she got in for free too! Sprinting between rides near closing time with a wheelchair bound party member attracted some funny looks, which was awesome. After various rollercoasters and thrill rides, we walked along Blackpool's illuminations to one of James' Dad's establishments for a nice, relaxing dinner and a drink. Nothing too crazy happened in the evening b/c we were all bare tired.

We left early on Monday morning to get me back in time for a lecture, but stopped briefly at a Blackpool Rock shop and the sand dunes. The former was cheap and sweet, the latter was unlike anything I've seen at a British beach before - really cool landscape and we got some good photos there! (Which I cba uploading, sorry!)

I made my lecture on time, then went home to join James in taking Sandra and Nora to the bus stop. It's a shame they had to go so soon, but the weekend was awesome enough to make up for it!

Since then, I've formulated various to-do lists, applied for a position at the Leeds Union, started my part time job, and reconsidered various aspects of my budget. It's awesome to feel productive again, and the huge amount of fun I've had in the last month is definitely worth the slightly exorbitant spending that accompanied it.

Bring on the rest of the year!

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

week #1, 11/10-17/10

I realise this is "late", considering my weekly-post-on-Sunday-evening idea, but I can explain!!!

The last week was hugely awesome / busy / tiring and as such I decided to call it an early night yesterday instead of posting. I also thought that yesterday night was Sunday night due to tiredness, explaining why this post is in fact two days late.

As a matter of fact, it will be even later. I'm mid-way through writing a fully comprehensive account of the last week in notepad, and I'll post that when it's done.

Until then,


Monday, 11 October 2010

je suis un funky homme


yesterday we did a house Otley Run (N.B. "the house" refers henceforth to myself and my six house mates.) for those of you who are unfamiliar with the term, the Otley Run is a legendary Leeds pub crawl of which several variations exist. from what I've gathered, the full blown version involves travelling from Otley, a village just outside Leeds, into Leeds proper, and features around 28 pubs. the version we (and most sane people) undertook, however, was slightly toned down.

we planned to hit 16 or 17 pubs, but in the end managed 11.5. how do you visit .5 of a pub, I hear you ask? well, 2 house mates went to one pub, bought a pint, and snuck it into the next pub on the run, where the rest of us were.

the first few pubs were fairly standard - a pint in each, the usual amount of banter, gradually becoming more inebriated. after pub #3 we split into 2 groups to tackle #4, because they have a "no Otley Runner" policy. the fact we weren't in fancy dress probably helped as well, as we managed to get in. my pint here was of liquorice stout, which tasted like hot dogs combined with ass.

in pub #6 someone said to me "wow, your hair's real. that's unfortunate", to which I retorted "fuck off". probably not the best thing to utter in a pub, but luckily I avoided being punched.

Emily, the only female in the house, was drinking more than all 6 guys (not combined), and this started to take effect around pub #8. discussions at this point of the run were also turning to topics which would otherwise probably not have been allowed. one of the topics of conversation was whether certain more advanced forms of sexual intercourse are acceptable.

after a long walk between pubs and the first food break (chips and gravy), things started to get a bit more "real". (remember that we started at pub #1 at 1430 hours, so by the time it was dark, we were already in pub #7 or #8.) Emily was talking to strangers, Kristian had found a colourful cuddly animal and inserted it into his underpants. a fellow Otley Runner had written "dick" on one of my forearms and "head" on the other, so when I held them above each other it said "dick head". genius. the same fellow also wrote "cunt" and "wank" on Emily's knuckles.

in pub #9, Tom had a long debate with a member of the Socialist party who were using the upstairs room for propaganda purposes. he proceeded to highlight the other guy's lack of knowledge RE Trotsky-ism, and we left in a smug fug.

pub #10 had a jukebox, which sparked localised dancing. localised around us - everyone else in the place was looking on in mild disbelief as we bounced and bopped around to such songs as "Let It Be", "Go Your Own Way", and various Green Day hits. a group of Asian girls were sitting watching us and managed to refuse at least 3 separate invitations to join us.


pub #11 was actually the university union, and although we planned to move on, it was the final stop on our modified Otley Run. Emily wasn't feeling very well and spent quite a lot of the time here sleeping. George, as the mature member of the party, was making sure Emily was ok, whilst Kristian and I (at first) tore up the dance floor, later to be joined by Alex and Chris C.

I'm really not sure how it happens - most of the time at clubs I stand at the edge, shaking about a bit, generally doing the "shuffling haddock", as I saw it referred to once. but once or twice, on special occasions, all my inhibitions seem to disappear and I bust out some of the sickest moves ever. yesterday for example we found a plastic golf club on the way 'round, and danced around each other in a surprisingly co-ordinated fashion spanking each other with it. we also did a worringly high amount of grinding, thrusting and leaping around throwing our arms all over the place.

can you imagine anything more cool?

people were taking pictures of us dance, and pointed as we left.

and I still can't decide whether they were laughing with us or at us..?

we decided we'd carried on for a bit too long, because at the last dance, people weren't rushing up to the floor to join us as had happened previously. instead they were sitting down looking anywhere but where we were. lol.

the walk home was spent topless, and discussing how awesome we were.

pizza was then purchased, and eaten whilst watching Wayne's World.

has there ever been a more epic evening?

P.S. please excuse me if I used N.B. incorrectly.

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

nut up or shut up

I just accidentally posted a blank post, lol!

anyway, just a follow-up update on the mood swings I'm currently experiencing. (after this I intend to resume blogging about non-whiny things.)

I tidied my room, and as the saying goes, "tidy room, tidy mind!"

I'm going to the clubs and societies fair tomorrow, huzzah!

All emails I mentioned previously have been sent and all replies have been positive.

Furthermore, I had a job interview today and it went rather swimmingly! I also have friends from Canada (as in who I met in Canada; they aren't actually Canadian!) visiting next week, and will be seeing Darwin Deez twice also.

So it's all good.


Sunday, 3 October 2010

roller coaster

I'm not even sure how to start this post.

I wanted to write about how malleable my mood is recently, but however I try and word it, it makes me sound like a whiny child. which obviously isn't what I'm going for. so I'm going to go for the "type whatever comes into my head and edit it into something vaguely coherent afterwards" approach:

listen to this song as you read for the full effect:

the 'problem' is this - the littlest things, things that shouldn't have any effect on me, seem to be getting to me this week. and although I can justify it (I've moved away from home (again) and started living and studying at a new university (again)), I'd have hoped the response would've been different the second time 'round.

but it isn't.

but then at the same time it is.

as in, it feels like it isn't, but when I think about it properly, it definitely is. things are going really well here, I'm enjoying myself largely and there's so much going on that I haven't had much time to myself to sort things out (both externally and internally - my possessions and thoughts are both untidy (that was another sentence that I didn't know how to word, so excuse me if it sounds overly pretentious.))

over the next week I plan to remedy this untidiness, and I imagine that my overly malleable mindset will be remedied along with it. I'm going to circle the events in the Societies and Clubs book that I want to go to, I'm going to tidy my bedroom and put colour coded post-its on my timetable so that I feel diligent. I'm also going to send some emails and find out what's going on about my job offer / travel writing competition entry eligibility / house representative's absence.

I'll (maybe) let you know how it goes.


Monday, 27 September 2010

Freshers 2

so, after a turbulent few months, I'm back at university again. Last time I was a student at a higher education institution was December last year, and although a LOT has changed since then, it definitely feels good to be back.

I'm all ready and registered, despite a last minute panic on Thursday morning that I didn't have the necessary documents required to enrol and register as an official student (also a prerequisite for receipt of a student loan.) That crisis was quickly averted, however, and the remainder of Freshers Week has been rather pleasant.

I recall the first bout of Freshers, which I experienced at a different university, being completely amazing but quite different. Not only did I experience it from the start, but I also met the girl who I would spend the next thirteen months with, as well as going to various parties, concerts and gatherings. This Freshers I only managed one of those things (I missed the first four days, and unless something bizarre happens I can't imagine entering a relationship with anyone I've met so far!), and the underlying vibe has been quite different.

Perhaps it's because I'm now living in a house with seven of my friends, rather than in halls with, what were in Freshers week, twenty three strangers.

But yes, four housemates and I saw Oceansize on Thursday evening, which was excellent. My first taste of Leeds' famous music scene, and one that left me wanting more. After the concert we went to a local pub wherein a pint of locally brewed ale sets you back only £1.81, a pub to which we returned on Friday for a few drinks with their friends. Saturday night played host to a nearby house party, although I wasn't in a party mood and the first thing anyone said to me there was accusing me of gatecrashing, so I went home for a quiet night in alone.

Today I accompanied two housemates to an ultimate frisbee training session, taking a brief detour to their old hall of residence to use the toilet, and a disused nuclear bunker where we had a brief look around before being threatened by security that we would be arrested if we didn't leave immediately. Slightly extreme considering there were no signs warning against entry, or anything that would suggest being on the plot of land was not allowed.

Nonetheless, we were not arrested, so all was well.

As I type this, I am listening to some banging choonz, and wondering what tomorrow will be like:

Transferring into second year at a new university means I won't know any of the people on the course who already know each other which is slightly daunting, but then again they probably won't be too menacing so it'll probably turn out fine.

Nine months outside academia means my level of knowledge may not be up to scratch, but then again my attitude towards study has definitely improved since first year and I'm more than willing to do the work to catch up so it'll probably turn out fine.

All the experiences and opportunities available to me here may be one of the best things to happen to me, and will teach me skills, introduce me to people, and open doors that may have otherwise have remain shut.

I can't see this could not turn out fine.

Saturday, 18 September 2010

lessons from the continent

people like it if you make them chips

in Australia, chips are chips and crisps are also chips

There are at least three ways to make the cocktail Misdirection
(Misdirection is a cocktail of cherry vodka and Coca Cola)

bars in Budapest don't ID much

cake is more slippery than people think

talking to random strangers isn't as dangerous as people think

skateboarding across the whole of Europe is apparently possible

H&M is really popular in Germany

C&A still exists in Germany

it isn't unusual to mix Cola with beer or wine in Germany / Hungary respectively

trains are a lot cheaper in Eastern Europe

a capital u with an umlaut looks like a smile: Ü

a capital o with an umlaut in the font jokerman looks like an angry person

Thursday, 9 September 2010


Hi all,

My friend and I are currently travelling around Europe, I'm writing this from another friend's apartment in Mannheim, Germany, and all in all we're having a jolly good time.

Unfortunately, though, I'm having a period of blog downtime, and the prospect of writing a post about what we've done so far really isn't an attractive one.

I'm not sure what brought this on. It happens occasionally but usually travelling resets it and restores my inspiration. No sign of that happening this time though.

So I'll leave it at this for now, and hopefully I'll find my muse somewhere in Europe. If this turns out to be the case I'll write a masterpiece of prose describing our travels, but if not I'll probably just end up posting some pretty pictures you can look at.



Wednesday, 8 September 2010

lucha libre pigeons

Several weeks ago, a friend and I sampled the Mexican cuisine of Chilango, a Mexican food chain who had just opened a local branch. We were delighted by the price and quality of the burritos, but were slightly troubled by one inconsistency between the menu and our actual eating experience: the fellow demonstrating how to eat burritos on the menu illustrations was wearing a lucha libre mask (see below) and we weren't.

Luckily, comment cards were available and we were able to express our concern about this discrepancy. That, we thought, was the end of it. Usually (from experience at work) these comment cards end up in the bin, but this time we were wrong! Yesterday I received an email from Oscar, Chilango's music manager, apologising for this inconsistency and offering to compensate by sending a lucha libre mask to my house.


The other part of this post title refers to a pigeon I saw in Leeds, and its retardedness. It was scrounging, and attemtping to break a french fry into palletable amounts by shaking it vigorously, but having no luck. After these futile attempts, it decided to eat the fry whole, then found out that this was a bad idea. it then returned to shaking its head vigorously, this time to avoid choking to death, and proceeded to launch the fry ~2 feet from its throat.

It was more spectacular in real life.

Sunday, 29 August 2010


there's this girl...

she's really pretty. she works near my place of work, and we usually have similar shifts. the first time(s) I saw her I didn't think much of it, but then my colleagues pointed out the fact that she was pretty, and suggested that I should "make her [my] girlfriend".

now, I'm moving away in three weeks, and will be spending two of those weeks travelling in Europe, so I'm hardly in a position to make anything happen with a girl. this is the thought process I had initially, although as I said I didn't think much of it so even that is a slight exaggeration.

since my colleagues' comments, however, I've been thinking about her more and more and it's grating on me. firstly, I'm too much of a dork to talk to someone I hardly know without some coercion, especially while wearing my stupid work hat. secondly, the colleague who suggested I make her my girlfriend went probing for information from the other girls who work there, so I don't know how much they know, or indeed how much she knows, meaning I risk an embarrassing situation.

also, allow me to reiterate: I am a dork.

today she walked past and said hello. recognising this as a friendly greeting and potential conversation opener, I said "hello" back, then proceeded to drop a fridge on my foot and yell in pain. what an attractive prospect I must have looked.


Wednesday, 25 August 2010

apologise be sorry

Hi, all.

I've just rediscovered ¡Forward, Russia! and am very happy about it. I have also just eaten some vegetarian lasagne prepared by my new housemate and am now blogging while aforementioned housemate and his friend are playing Mario Kart on N64. It's been a while since I've blogged so I'd just like to say that things are generally good right now. I feel relaxed although apparently I'm not, because I've had 2 bouts of sleep paralysis (AGH!) and a migraine in the last 3 days.

I think I've identified why though - the triggers for the former are stress, change of environment / lifestyle and sleep deprivation, which basically describes my life at the moment. I'm still traveling between London and Leeds, living in the latter and commuting to work on the weekends. It's a bit stressful.

On a side note, sleep paralysis is the shittest thing ever. For those of you who don't know about it it's when your mind wakes up from deep sleep but your body doesn't, so if you try to move your unwilling sleeping body, you can't. I imagine being paralysed isn't ever fun, but it's probably even less so when you've just woken up, and were able-bodied when you went to sleep. Thankfully it passes fairly quickly though.

The second bout of sleep paralysis was combined with a nightmare: I "woke up" (facing the wall), couldn't move, and "heard" someone enter and walk across my room, then "felt" them climb onto my bed before waking up properly. The words in inverted commas are so because obviously I wasn't awake and didn't hear / feel anything, but sometimes sleep paralysis can mix with nightmares and make it feel like you're actually awake, which also sucks. I feel I haven't explained that very well but oh well.

Anyway, moaning over! (It wasn't supposed to sound so moany, reading back on it.)

Leeds house is awesome. There's only 1/7 of us living here permanently so far, with me living here on weekdays, 4/7 floating in and out and the remaining 1/7th who hasn't seen it yet. The atmosphere is good, we found a pub sign in the basement and adapted it hilariously, and are planning to stick it to the front of the house somehow. Probably with an elaborate system of ropes and pullies. It says "The Knowle & Strumpet". Lol.

I'm going to post this now, although it's not finished. Hopefully I'll add to it later but I make no guarantees as my internet access at the moment is sporadic at best.


Wednesday, 11 August 2010

tick tock

I've just discovered this song, and I'm really enjoying it. The link will only work if you have Spotify. If not it's called "Tick Tock" by Jack Conte but I can't find a more accessible source for it.

I'm feeling really [some word I can't remember at the moment] at the moment. The word I'm looking for is like absorbent but for the brain... Anyone know what it is? It's a nice feeling though. It feels like all the effort I've been putting into improving myself and my situation over the last year are beginning to pay off. The metaphorical pieces are falling into their metaphorical places, if you will.

Slowly I feel I'm becoming more at peace with the person I'm becoming, which is always nice. Instead of grilling myself about my "bad" characteristics, I've accepted them as part of myself and somehow that seems to reduce the degree of their expression. Shyness is the main culprit: I used to give myself hell about being shy, but when I accepted it, it (somewhat contradictorarily (new word)) gave me confidence.

My brain, as well as feeling [some word I can't remember at the moment], feels like jelly today. This is due to two consecutive nights of heavy drinking. The first of which was a farewell drinking session for my friend who's moving to France. A hunt for absinthe led us to a Scandinavian bar in London which has cheap food and drink before 8, to which we arrived at 7.55. We ordered cocktails and four random food dishes, as well as consuming several pints of beer before heading to St James' park for late night frisbee / beer drinking / Buckingham Palace moonying.

The second was my friends fourth annual Summer bbq. I consumed six beers, two Tequilas (one slammer, one stuntman), half a bottle of wine, and 'some' Vodka and Coke, and was sufficiently wankered thereafter. The monster hangover I probably earned was negated by a lovingly prepared and delicious fried breakfast by the bbq's host.

What a legend.

But yes, that's the end of today's disjointed discourse.


Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Hungary #4 - insects and punctuation

I'm in a Hungarian internet café to print out my boarding pass, and decided it would be a prudent time to post. The topic of today's discussion is the various insect encounters I've had in Budapest so far, and my attempts to familiarise myself with a foreign keyboard layout.

The first happened when I was laying on Simon's bed, looking around his apartment. I noticed a middle-sized spider (maybe 3cm in diameter) chilling on his ceiling, and asked whether he knew it was there. "Yes", he replied. "That's Glenn". Apparently Glen keeps the flies in check, and it certainly seemed he was doing a good job - a respectably sized web containing many demised flies hung from the ceiling just a short distance from Glenn.

Two and three occurred when we were tidying up the apartment for guests: I noticed an army of ants parading around the room (impressive considering the apartment is six floors up). I asked the same question to Simon as to whether he was aware of them, and he replied in the affirmative once again. Whereas Glenn keeps flies in check, the ants' jobs is to manage crumbs and other debris by carrying it into the floor and disposing of it. Three was more gross - there was a dead cricket in the corner that had been torn open by ants (presumably) and had had eggs laid inside it. I quickly disposed of this atrocity.

The fourth was also a cricket, but this time it was alive and decided my chest would be an ideal landing position. I was holding a pint at the time, and very nearly threw it all over the table. I flicked it off, then some braver man than I picked it up and threw it, when it somehow defied gravity and stuck itself to the ceiling. Number five happened in the same bar - I had just finished in the toilet only to realise that there was a beetle INSIDE the bowl. Bleghhhhhh.

This is a Hungarian keyboard. Notice how the Y and Z are switched around. I keep typing Zs where I want Ys, then realising, backspacing, correctly typing a new Y, then out of impulse or some weird tick, add an unwanted Z afterwards. Also notice how there are symbols below the letters as well as above the numbers - you probably recognise these symbols as those which occupy the area of keyboard where the accents are in the picture. These symbols are accessed by holding "Alt".


Sunday, 1 August 2010

Hungary #3 - adventure

This post details the events that occurred in the hours of July 30th that were not covered by my last post.

Conversation following my arrival at Simon's flat enlightened me to the fact that he'd lost his passport on his return train from Serbia, and the guys' plan for the rest of the day was to go to the train and police stations and the British embassy to hopefully resolve the situation. First point of business, however, was the acquisition of food. As is usually (although regrettably) the case when I arrive in a new country and am presented with the opportunity to sample traditional local cuisine, I resorted to Western junk food. In this case, Burger King.

Note - it's not that I'm unwilling to try traditional local cuisine, just that I'm a frugal traveller (not always out of choice) and Western junk food is usually the cheapest option. Burger King provided me with two cheeseburgers for 400F (Forint) for example, which works out at around £1.20. (My formula for working out Forint (F) to Sterling (S) is S≈((F/100)/3)-10%)

After sustenance was gained, we walked to the nearest bus stop, looked for awaiting ticket inspectors, saw none, and boarded the first bus sans ticket. I don't really condone this sort of behaviour usually but aforementioned frugality combined with peer pressure let me do it just this once (honestly just this once). The bus took us several hundred metres up the road and past several stops where we had to look for any boarding inspectors (so we could alight if any came) to Keleti Station.

This is Budapest's main station and is typical of the buildings here (from what I can tell) in that it looks fairly grand on the outside but could really do with some work on the inside. It looked really Soviet and cool though - old trains, low tracks and a really high ceiling. Simon went to the lost and found office, was told it was closed, then to the information office who were unable to provide anything useful. A guard gave us directions to a nearby train station, so we headed in that direction.

A short walk through gypsy town (not its real name) led us to the conclusion that the directions provided to us were incorrect, so we bought some water from a petrol station (it's REALLY hot here) and headed to the nearest Metro station to save walking alllll the way back. (Just for the record we bought tickets legitimately here.)

The Metro took us from Stadionok to Deák Tér, then thirst took us to Gödör where we consumed beer from tankards (although we decided not to quaff) and consulted Google Maps (on Simon's nifty iPhone) to find the location of police stations in the vicinity. Two were identified, but both later turned out not to exist, which was frustrating. It was a nice pretence for seeing the city, though!

Eventually we located a tourist-information-office-come-police-station-that-deals-especially-with-enquiries-from-foreigners, and Simon spent around half an hour getting grilled by authorities while the rest of us returned to Gödör. Apparently Serbia is one of the worst countries for illegal passport transactions, and when Simon disclosed that he "lost" it, they were understandably suspicious of the claim. (Not understandably because of Simon, understandably because they have reason to be suspicious of a "lost" passport in Serbia, whoever lost it.)

Aforesaid grilling sparked intense thirst in Simon, so they decided to show me Moloko bar where we would consume cheap beer and play Csocso for most of the evening. (I mentioned both things (beer and Csocso) in my last post so won't go into huge detail.) Several of Simon's Hungarian friends joined us, and we spent a jolly good evening getting gradually more inebriated. I was also introduced to Pálinka, the Hungarian national beverage, although I'm not really sure exactly what it is and apparently it can vary quite a lot. The one I had was 50% volume and tasted of Elderflower.

Lack of sleep and alcohol began to take their toll on me around 1am, so I headed back to the flat and to bed while the guys and Hungarian friends went to a casino. I would have liked to go - they give you free food, drink and cigarettes (although I'm not interested in the latter) to encourage you to continue gambling. A perfect opportunity to play a quick, cheap (500F/£1.50) game of roulette while being inundated with beer and sandwiches.

Saturday, 31 July 2010

Hungary #2 - gaining entry

Hi once again, all.

I successfully arrived in Hungary, and am currently safe sound and well slept in Moloko, a bar frequented by the friends I'm staying with. It's pretty cool. Pints are 300F Forint which works out at 90p, they have a Csocso table (Hungarian for table football) which is 50F a pop, and they have really funky lights - they're square, with little LED lights around the outside, and a mirror on top. The mirror reflects the lights off the plastic cover, so the light appears to stretch upwards into infinity when really the fitting is about 5cm high.

It probably looks better than it sounds.

Anyway, I intend to update you on how it's going so far. It may be fairly long winded, so if you aren't ready for a read then go away.

Several hours of travelling followed my last post. The flight to Frankfurt Hahn took just over an hour, then I spent 12 hours in the airport waiting for the next plane (mostly trying to sleep in awkward positions on the floor or benches). I arrived in Hungary just after midnight on Friday, and spent another 4 hours sleeping in that airport because I'd missed the last public transport. The sleep was welcome, however.

At 4.30 I woke up, went to the bus stop, and got on the bus for free (second time I've got on the first bus in a new city for free - interesting fact for you there). The bus took me through suburbian Budapest to Kőbánya Kispest, the first (or last, depending on your perspective) stop on the red Metro line. The ticket booth was closed, so I bought a "Cappuccino" from a dingy snack shack to break into a 1000F note, then bought a ticket for 320F and headed to the platform. I put Cappuccino in inverted commas because it wasn't really a Cappuccino despite being labelled as one - it was an espresso shot with whipped cream (or whipped plastic, going by the taste).

Anyway, I boarded the first train at the platform, then read an interesting notice about ticket validation. I then got off the train, went back to the ticket machine, and validated my ticket (don't wanna get fined!) Luckily the next train was only 4 minutes behind, so I waited, boarded, then travelled to Kálvin tér. I find foreign Metro systems interesting - I recall the trains of the one in Montreal have huge wheels with tyres on them, rather than the little metal ones they usually have (from what I've seen at least). From what I can gather, if they derailed the wheels would cushion the fall rather well and carry the carriage to a safe stop. My first observation of the Hungarian Metro was not such a comforting one: how most of the train carriages were actively rusty and decrepit.

I surfaced at Kálvin tér just after 5.30am, and took a traditional "first view of a new city" photo for my collection. The view was of typical Eastern European city buildings, surrounded by scaffolding and a fenced off building site. I then went to sit down and drink some water, before ringing Simon to come pick me up. The call wasn't answered. I waited ten minutes and tried again - still no answer. Then I waited ten minutes, called again, and was greeted with a message telling me his phone was off the hook. Shit.

Unsure of what to do, I decided to wander around the area I'd found myself in. A brief scan of the map told me I was near the Danube, so I headed there and absorbed the magnificent early morning view of Budapest. Over the next 6 and a half hours, I rang Simon no less than 43 times, and only the last call connected. In the meantime I remembered that I'd written down his address, so I located the street on the map and walked there. At first I thought that would be the end of it; the name "Simon" was written on the buzzer list for the apartment building, so I spent 30 minutes buzzing it, figuring that there wouldn't be 2 Simon's in all of Budapest, let alone the same building. No luck.

After a LONG time I saw movement in the lobby, and knocked on the door. After a short, awkward "conversation", a resident let me through the 2 security gates and into what was presumably Simon's building. I went to apartment #5 (the one labelled as Simon) and spent another 30 minutes knocking and buzzing before going up and heading downstairs. On retrospect I'm really glad the guy wasn't in, because he would have punched me for ringing his door so many times (it turns out there ARE 2 Simons in the building, and the one I was looking for is at apartment #11. Simon is a fairly common surname in Hungary, and is the surname of the resident of the apartment I spent 3 hours trying to enter.)

Downstairs I realised that you needed a key to get OUT of the building as well. This sparked a small panic attack - I wasn't supposed to be in this building - what if got arrested?! What if I ended up stuck in there all day?! What if I needed to do twosies?!!! I looked out of the window on the first landing to see if I could jump out, but it was way too high, and the area behind it was sealed off anyway so I'd just get stuck there. I knocked on several apartments. One knock was answered, but I was flustered and scared the resident back inside, where she would no longer answer my subsequent knocks. Eventually I sat on the stairs and regrouped, before realising that the lock was very primitive and could be forced open by a toothbrush (of all things).

I got out, and have never been happier to be on a Hungarian street.

After this, an old woman took pity on my situation, and (I think) invited me into her house for tea. My Mum told me not to talk to strangers, so I refused, and decided instead to calm myself down a bit by going to the Hungarian National Museum, which was just a short walk away.

For 550F (the student entry fee, which ANYONE under 26 has to pay, student or otherwise), I was able to peruse several exhibits about Hungary's history from the beginning of human life, to the fall of the Communist regime in 1990. It was interesting, but unfortunately too many things weren't labelled in English, and I was exhausted, so I didn't look at it all.

My energy reserves were gradually depleting, as was my patience, so I went and sat on a bench by the river with my iPod and attempted to destress. It was here that a call to Simon FINALLY got through - he casually apologised for not answering, explaining that he'd only just woken up after his trip from Serbia, then said to come back to the apartment and he'd let me in.

When I arrived he explained how the secure doors I was previously trapped by were opened by a simple buzzer mechanism that I completely missed. My previous ordeal then seemed hugely stupid. I would like to add, for the record, that the buzzer switch has a picture of a lightbulb on it however, so its function is not immediately obvious!

Finally, after nearly 7 hours in Budapest, I gained entry to Simon's flat, grabbed a drink, and sat down.

Thursday, 29 July 2010

Hungary #1


I'm on a pay-as-you-go PC in the departure lounge, and have only 62 pence worth of time remaining (6 minutes 20 seconds!) so this post will be brief:

All is going well so far, despite three headaches I encountered earlier. One being leaving my passport 250 miles away. One being losing my coach tickets at the ACTUAL last minute. One setting of the security buzzer and being frisked forcefully (yet politely, I must say) at the security gate.

They have been resolved now, however, and I am now awaiting 6.45am so that I may board my plane and jet off to sunny Germany. Or rainy Germany, more likely.

I'll update more as I go, hopefully. Although I'm not sure what to expect when I arrive! The friend I was to stay with has arsed off to Siberia, and if it wasn't for a mutual friend housesitting his flat, my plans would be royally boned.

I leave you with this: who is Bill Posters? And what did he do to deserve prosecution?!

Wednesday, 28 July 2010


I'm going travelling tomorrow, to Hungary, via Germany. I managed to make it a 22 hour door-to-door journey, when really it should be about 5. but it was the cheapest way!

I'll write about it when I get back.

for now, however, I'm just happy to be getting away from the drama of it all!

so as my Mum says, ta ta for now!

Friday, 23 July 2010

go fuck yourself

have you ever been in an environment where *everything* you do wrong is commented on, even if you did a hundred things right as well? or perhaps one where people tell you off for doing things that they also do, or tell you off for massively petty issue then laugh it off when you raise a relatively major one of theirs?

I have - it's called WORK.

Job B, to be more precise.

it's reached the stage now where photographic evidence is accompanying verbal thrashings for my "poor" performance, which I find hugely patronising. and just for the record my performance isn't "poor" - our manager recognises that no shift has EVER been perfect, whoever worked it, but for some reason I can't quite comprehend I've began to attract complaints from approximately four sevenths of my colleagues.

I can take consolation, however, in the knowledge that while I may not be perfect, neither are any of the aforementioned four sevenths. nor are the five fourteenths who don't complain, and who aren't me. no one is. so despite the complaints, constant criticism and cajoling, I can remain stress free and maintain a sense of smugness at my workplace.

which is always nice :)

Tuesday, 20 July 2010


"Dear You

This email is to confirm your purchase of the following:

2 x Darwin Deez - Newcastle @ The Other Rooms, Newcastle (13/10/2010)
Cost (per ticket): £8.00, Booking Fee (per ticket, if applicable): £1.30

2 x Darwin Deez - Leeds @ Leeds Cockpit (15/10/2010)
Cost (per ticket): £8.00, Booking Fee (per ticket, if applicable): £1.30

Your tickets will be dispatched by Recorded delivery (costing £1.30) to : You, Your house. Lunatickets Registered VAT number: 758459183, VAT is charged at 17.5%
Total Cost of This Purchase is : £38.50"

snooze dreams

my alarm has an unchangeable snooze timer of 5 minutes. I usually set alarms for 60 and 30 minutes before I need to get up; the former gets turned off, providing 30 minutes of glorious bed fug sleep before the latter goes off. I then snooze for the last 30 minutes, allowing me six 5 minute snooze windows.

although the snooze windows are short, the fact that I'm not awake properly yet means I can easily fall back asleep during them. for some reason the dreams I get during these snooze windows are, despite their erratic nature, unusually lucid. (I hope that sentence is right - I mean that despite the random topic of the dream, they are clear in themselves.)

for example today my snooze dreams included a chase through a sauna-come-kidnappers'-den. I came in accidentally through a tunnel in a back room, was seen, and then had to run away from some angry kidnappers through a series of (empty) steamy rooms.

then I was woken up by my alarm going off.

then I pressed the snooze button.

and fell back asleep, dreaming that I was at a meal with two twins from an old school, and their mother. the twins told me that they had separated after a massive argument, (separate as in divorce - not even sure twins can do that?) but that their mother wasn't aware of this. so when they were talking to me they were arguing and bitching, but they were all friendly in front of their mum.

how weird.

so basically, if you want some really random dreams, I recommend experimenting with your alarm's snooze setting.

that's all for today :)

Saturday, 17 July 2010

unstructured rant

I've realised* recently that there are discrepancies between our perceptions of life and the lives we actually live. (*I think I need to define realise - I don't mean realise as in notice for the first time, I mean it as in making something real. as in I was aware there were discrepancies before 'recently', but only recently did I actually apply the knowledge to my own life. if that makes sense.)

I touched on the subject (albeit accidentally) in my last post, where I stated that on a "pleasant Summer's evening, shared with good drink, good food, and good company, [where] absolutely nothing untoward happened", I still "had a completely inexplicable feeling of sadness afterwards".

this struck me as unfair - why the hell should I be susceptible to being let down by my own deranged fantasies of how life should be?

I then thought that maybe, although these discrepancies are inevitable (otherwise everyone would have to have the same, unaltering, true view of life which is impossibly unrealistic), we can control the effect they have on us.

for example, some people get angry when their expectations are not met. they lash out, pass blame and ignore the actuality (however good or bad) of the situation. this is (from what I can tell) a fairly common reaction. my old RE teacher told our class a story once wherein a child was taken out for a day to a theme park, rode all the rides, was brought expensive souvenirs, ate his favourite food for lunch, and nothing went wrong until, in the car park before heading home, he saw an ice cream van and demanded an ice cream. his grandparents (or parents, whoever he was with) refused, citing that they had treated him all day and had run out of money, and that it would make him feel sick on the journey home. he could not understand this, and threw a tantrum, ending the day on a bad note, tainting it forever in his (and their) memories.

quite a tragic outcome in my opinion.

and although the above was only a story told to highlight a moral, too many times have I seen something similar occur in real life. I've experienced it many times myself, but beyond that I won't mention names, places, times, events or anything remotely incriminating because there's no point, but I think it's something we're all guilty of doing.

another reaction is to deny that discrepancies exist, and continue living a life with which you are not satisfied, for fear of having to confront the fact that nothing is going how you expected (and maybe wanted) it to. this is more tragic than the last, and probably much less easy to reverse (or even notice) once it's started happening. the thought of ending up in such a mindset in life genuinely scares me - I have visions of myself drudging away at something I hate to feed myself and keep myself alive merely for the purpose of continuing the drudgery.

then I realise that it's a lifestyle that only exists in films, TV shows and songs to make consumers feel better about themselves because they're not trapped in such a life (Photosynthesis by Frank Turner jumps to mind).

then I realise that it's a lifestyle that many people around the world are confined to. drudging away at menial tasks to earn barely enough money to keep their family alive.

then I realise that this lifestyle is shown to us regularly, along with pleas for donations and promises of bettering peoples' lives who are stuck in such a position. and that this just acts to make consumers feel better about themselves because they're not trapped in such a life.

then I feel guilty for being scared of drudgery when I have so many opportunities that millions of people across the world will never have, and even if I were to waste ALL of these, I wouldn't be in as bad a place as some of them.

then I realise I'm rambling, and that it's 1:56am, and that the six espressos I drank today are wearing off, and that I need to go to bed.

Thursday, 15 July 2010


greetings, friends, fans and foes alike,

please excuse my recent lapse in blogging. the past ten days have been like a fucking rollercoaster, when realistically they should've been no more than a carousel, and this metaphorical alteration of amusement park ride intensity has taken its toll on me.

I'd like firstly to say that I was very flattered to receive a comment expressing what I perceived to be disdain after just a week of not posting. without sounding self-centred, knowing that people (or at least person) read(s) my blog makes me feel all rosey and glowy inside, so thank you.

now I feel it is my duty to describe through prose some of the events that have made the last ten days rollercoasterish. if you've read this post (or this, this or my particular favourite, this) you'll know I like a band called Darwin Deez, and on 29th June I received an email informing me that I'd one tickets to see them at the iTunes festival (supporting Kate Nash).

obviously this was awesome news. that the tickets were arranged via direct correspondence with mr Deez only made the news more awesome, as did the fact that 4 of my friends from my time Canada would be coming along. (I lived in Canada on exchange from university between September and December 2009, and spent two of those 3.5 months in a student house in Downtown Toronto. it was probably the best time of my life. aforementioned friends were to be my former room-mate, former house-mate, his girlfriend, and our friend who lived in a house nearby. three of the four I had not seen in seven months.)

this combination of awesomenity increasing factors made me extremely excited about Tuesday 6th July, or what was dubbed affectionately as "Deez Day". so it was with enormous disappointment that I was informed on Monday 5th July that Darwin Deez had been removed from the support slot, in favour of an act called Peggy Sue. I also discovered the reason for this, although out of respect of privacy I'd like to keep it private (good sentence there).

what, a fucking, JOKE.

regardless of the centrepoint of the day, Deez Day still went ahead. we all met, wondered around Camden updating each other on our lives, sharing stories from Canada, discussing Summer plans and much else. we went to a pub, then drank on the island thing in the middle of Camden Lock. it was a pleasant Summer's evening, shared with good drink, good food, and good company, and absolutely nothing untoward happened.

yet, and this is where events began to take their toll, I had a completely inexplicable feeling of sadness afterwards. I think I learned a valuable lesson not to hype things up too much (I was so, so excited beforehand), but I hate the fact that the human brain (or at least mine) is capable of taking a day that was amazing in every respect, and making it the subject of deranged and unfounded fretting.

from here onwards it was mainly tiredness that prevented me from blogging. I worked a lot of hours at Job B between Thursday and Sunday, and after my 4-10pm shift on Saturday I made my way to London to meet two of the four Deez Day attendees at a club. again it was fun - there were balloons and gin & tonics, as well as dancing and other various club-related activities. we left at 2am, then it took me 2 hours to get home, meaning I had only 5 hours sleep before my 12-6pm shift on Sunday.

Darwin Deez did a free concert on Tuesday to make up for their absence at the iTunes festival, which was attended by me, my cousin and 3 friends (2 Canada, 1 non). (I say "make up for", but that's not the right phrase (I can't think of a better one); their absence was out of their control, and as I mentioned before, a fucking joke.) to gain entry you had to buy their single (pushing the "free" part of free concert in my opinion), but I intended to buy it anyway so no worries. we walked around Brick Lane eating bagels and wearing sombreros until the gig, then had the best hour of live music ever.

the set list was great, the dances were there, the banter was excellent, and we got to meet him afterwards! I was shaking like a schoolgirl which was kind of tragic, although totally awesome at the same time. we had a photo with Mr Deez, a brief conversation, and he signed the single I bought before I had to be escorted from the premises (too shaky to walk).

so all in all a good, but time consuming and mentally draining week.

all the best,

your friend,


Monday, 12 July 2010

harshest critic

↑ I've found mine.

he's always watching me.

he doubts every decision I make.

as soon as I trip up, he recounts all the mistakes that led to it.

it's so easy for him to make me feel like shit.

but to be fair he always helps me better myself.

seems to be swings and roundabouts

Friday, 2 July 2010

three things I hate:

  • people who deal in absolutes
  • generalisations: they're always wrong
  • double standards

Thursday, 1 July 2010

dapper Zappa

it was my friend's 20th birthday yesterday, and being such a thoughtful friend I bought her the following items:

the goal was to get her drunk enough to wear all 6 pieces of self-adhesive facial hair, but unfortunately this was not achieved. instead I wore the Manly Moustache and Swingin' Soul Patch all evening, the birthday girl wore the Enticing Eyebrows for around 30 minutes before wussing out and removing them to go to the bar, and the Sleek Sideburns were worn by a friend, who was subsequently referred to as Hugh Jackman, The Janitor, and A Twat. the Enticing Eyebrows were passed around the group as eyebrows, a moustache (joined together and rotated 180°), sideburns, and at one point, pubic hair.

je suis un funky homme

one guy, who had a very similar real facial hair assembly to the counterfeit one I was wearing, complimented me, saying that I looked French (wait, is that a compliment?), and advised me to grow a real one, learn to "play guitar like a God" (to be fair he didn't know that I already can mwahahaha) and start a Frank Zappa tribute band.

anyone wanna join?

Sunday, 27 June 2010

a vampire weekend

this weekend drained me somewhat, but was really cool at the same time - kind of like vampires, although they aren't really cool... more suave. or maybe debonair. either way, I enjoyed it. also the soundtrack for this weekend has been mainly Vampire Weekend (oh wait, it was a pun?!), to whom you can listen below (perhaps while you read the rest of my suave and debonair post):

I shall begin with an anecdote from Job B: we are sometimes visited anonymously by secret shoppers, whose job it is to catch us slacking and provide detailed reports of our insolent behaviour to the management. so far at my time in Job A, we have scored 80% or over on these visits, which is good, and the anecdote is actually about some other visitors we get: secret comedians. these pose as customers, and ask horrendously unfunny questions which pertain to our company, or the products and nature thereof.

I encountered my first on Friday - 2 young boys asked, while somehow managing to keep a straight face, how much hot chocolate with sweetcorn would cost. unfortunately I have not received my secret comedian training, and so was forced to maintain a deadpan expression, enter "hot chocolate" into the till with a sweet topping of "sweetcorn", and disclose to the comedians that the price was £2.45.

I fear this will hinder my performance in their report.

I also fear that my account of 2 kids trying to have an innocent laugh was way too sarcastic...

never mind, though.

Saturday was probably good too although I can't remember now what happened.

Sunday bought England's defeat in the world cup, which me and a friend witnessed in a local pub. watching football in a pub is definitely more interesting than watching at home - the chants and songs add to the experience, as does the caution you have to take to not slip over on spilled beer when you walk. it's a shame we've gone out really, I don't particularly follow football but it would've been nice to watch a couple more games.

Thursday, 24 June 2010

a list of things I'm excited about

  • Budapest
  • Darwin Deez @ iTunes festival
  • Seeing James and Laurine
  • Moving house
  • Darwin Deez @ Leeds
  • Frightened Rabbit @ Leeds
  • Turning 20

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Deez, pleez.

I thought I'd share the following video with you. (most of) those of you who know me will be familiar with my affection towards the musical stylings of Darwin Deez, and so it pleases me that since seeing them supporting at a concert in a small venue in Toronto just last October, they have managed to gain a dedicated (if small) following in the UK. this is their 3rd single:

now, in further Deez news, I would like to inform you all about how massively and stupidly excited I am about the pending "Deez Day". several of my Canada chums and I will be meeting in London on July 6th for undecided social activities, before heading to see Darwin Deez at the iTunes festival. the day not only marks the first time we've seen each other since December, but something of a milestone considering the first time we went out as house mates in Canada was to aforementioned concert in Toronto :)

but yeah, that's enough about Deez now.

Sunday, 20 June 2010

monkey business

the world is very vocal towards me these past few days: I sneezed on the bus and a woman blessed me, I was crossing the road the next day and someone I didn't recognise said "hello, Christopher" (which was weird), then today I was spoken to by strangers on two separate bus rides. The first encounter consisted of a compliment about my hair, while the second was a full blown conversation with a 9 year old about life, money, phone contracts, work, and much else. The latter was prompted by the monkey teddy I have sticking out of my bag pocket, about which aforementioned 9 year old remarked "I like the monkey!"

all this spontaneous conversation made me feel uneasy, which subsequently made me think about how stupid that reaction was. We're taught not to talk to strangers from a young age, and while the reasoning for this is largely good, it could be argued that it turns people into paranoid sociophobes.

then I thought about how awesome it is to have a monkey teddy sticking out of my bag pocket. I recall three conversations initiated by Esteban (the monkey) since I put him in my bag. The first was in Osaka in December, when two Japanese girls said "kawaii saru!" which translates as "cute monkey!" I found this awesome, although I was unable to converse with them due to my low level of Japanese. The second was the conversation I mentioned taking place today, and the third was also today, when a chav observed "'ere, 'e's got a munky in 'is bag!", and deduced (incorrectly) that this made me a "loser".

Saturday, 12 June 2010

leading your life right

watching this lecture has been on my to-do list for around 4 months now, but was consistently swept aside by more "important" tasks such as ensuring my recent Amazon deposit (£70.53) was forthcoming, or that this blog was sufficiently up to date. When I finally got round to watching it last night (or early this morning at least), it really put the importance of aforementioned tasks into perspective.

the lecturer, one Randy Pausch, was given a terminal pancreatic cancer diagnosis in 2006, and gave the above lecture in 2007. he was told to expect 6 months of remaining good health, but still managed to keep a positive outlook on life and, through such means as this lecture, to inspire people worldwide.

I appreciate you probably have things to do that are hugely important, but nonetheless I recommend watching this video when you can fit it into your massively busy schedule :)

Friday, 11 June 2010

just laugh and smile

I want to feel like this all the time: I feel relaxed yet energised, productive, and inspired yet reflective.

I'm housesitting at my Granddad's, have set up my laptop on the dining room table, and am surrounded with books and pieces of paper: all to be read, sorted out or written on. I've also typed up 3 lectures worth of notes from Job A and emailled them to the according student, as well as grouping several scraps of paper on which I have scrawled notes of my own about a variety of topics (largely President Obama and evolution (from books I've read recently)). My to-do list is updated (and significantly reduced), and I'm full up with chicken and pesto pasta, topped with pine nuts and olives.

Being at my Granddad's always relaxes me somewhat, and a steady supply of caffeine is supplying the energy. Inspiration and reflection have come from copying posts over from my previous blog in an attempt to consolidate my blogging efforts: the former because it's given me some new ideas about a few things, and the latter because it's nice to read over what I've been up to over the last few months, and how my mindset has changed accordingly (I'd recommend blogging to anyone just for that reason).

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

stroke of (bad) luck

The Strokes are playing a 'secret' concert tonight, under the alias "Venison". A source of mine told me about the gig at ~11pm, tickets went on sale at 8pm, so I'd have been hopeful about my chances.

But alas, it was sold out.

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

what a happy bunch

stroke medications, most specifically betablockers, seem to be named so cheerfully:

  • propanolol
  • acebutolol
  • betaxolol
  • nebivolol
  • esmolol
  • atenolol
  • labetalol
  • carvedilol
  • metoprolol

it's a shame about the subject matter though: finding the names amusing makes me feel like a bastard.

Monday, 7 June 2010

the napster

I had three naps today; one between 9:15 and 9:45, one between 11:20 and 11:40, and the final between 1:30 and 3:40. I appreciate this sounds fairly lazy, but to paraphrase Cat (from Red Dwarf...), "if I don't have enough naps, I won't have enough energy for my main evening snooze!"

in terms of explanation; I haven't been sleeping well recently. I had a dream last week that I woke up paralysed, and it freaked me out sufficiently to disturb all subsequent sleeps (dreaming that you're awake when you're asleep then waking up and not being sure if you're actually awake or still asleep is weird enough, without paralysis being involved.)

the latest nap was on the reclined passenger seat of my Granddad's car, which was in the car park of Job A. he was booked there until 4, and I waited for him to finish as he'd kindly offered me a lift to Job B. after napping, I had a can of Pepsi and a bag of chocolate brazil nuts, then read the paper and thought about what an awesome day I was having so far, before being driven to Job B.

at Job A, by the way, I learned by proxy about several voice disorders, as well as watching videos of each disorder 'in action'. I must say, seeing what the vocal cords and related speech system actually looks like kinda takes the edge off of things; watch the video below (of a female with vocal polyps) and then imagine that most singers probably have some kind of disorder (mostly mild and unnoticeable) because of their profession, and that the voice is created by such an ugly system:

anyway, Job B was relatively uneventful. it was a really quiet shift and as a result we were able to finish the close by 9:10, which is usually unheard of. my colleague and I had some good banter during the shift, and I even bought myself a new t-shirt during my break (pictured below) which made me laugh, and was only £10.20 with student discount so can't see the harm!

the 9:10 close meant I was home by 10:10; it's now 11:42 and I'm going to bed. had a pleasant evening consisting of dinner, chat with Mum, and watching various Youtube videos.