Tuesday, 30 March 2010

it came from a land Down Under

Received a parcel filled with goodies from my Australian cousin last week! I meant to put pictures up sooner but I've only just located my camera cable (tidied my room today...).

Me and Lauren (aforementioned cousin) used to be pen pals, but it's been at least 10 years since we last wrote I think... We recently became friends on Facebook, and a reminiscence of mine about my time in Australia (more specifically my fond memories of their delicious strawberry centered Freddo bars) prompted the idea to exchange parcels.

There were 5 assorted Freddos (although the caramel one has a koala on it who is NOT Freddo), 2 Creme Eggs which I ate before the picture was taken, a roll of bubblegum, a tube of Vegemite, a "stubby" holder, and an awesome mix CD.

Thanks Lauren :D

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

cycling in the city

Had my trial shift for a certain sandwich delivery company today, following the interview I detailed in the last post. I intended to get up at 6.30, leave by 7 and cycle to the DLR station but instead I got up at 7, left by 7.15 and got the bus to the DLR station. Figured I may as well use my weekly bus pass, although the buses took longer than I allowed for and I ended up being half an hour late for the trial. I did manage to get the DLR for free though (entirely by accident!).

Introduced myself to the office team, explained why I was late and apologised, then had a complimentary coffee while I waited for my shadowee to arrive. Introduced myself to him (René) when he arrived, then selected a spare bike, watched him set up the trailer, and we set off into the streets. Literally.

It's been a while since I've cycled in the road, so it took a bit of getting used to. Especially in Central London with buses, taxis, trucks and cars all over the place! Was slightly daunting at first but became easier with time. First stop was a car repair place, then we went to a Citroen garage and made a delivery at an office.

There were 11 stops overall, and most were offices. It was interesting seeing the range of places available to work in, although for the most part it just made me glad not to be working there! People were generally friendly, and sympathised with René about a competitor stealing his business (sympathy doesn't cost anything; they still bought food from the competitor because it was cheaper).

The four hours went surprisingly quickly, and the cycling was really fun. After the last stop René gave me the bike with the trailer to cycle back to the depot, and it handled quite differently to the one I'd been riding thus far! Luckily though I took into account the wider turning circle and avoided tipping the entire thing over. Upon returning to depot I spoke to the office team again and told them I'd really enjoyed it, then thanked René for showing me the ropes, received five sandwiches in 'payment', wished him luck for the future, and headed home.

DLR journey was relaxing, and it was free for the second time today. I genuinely tried to pay, but there was no information booth at the station and the community support officers there had no suggestions. To be honest though, if TFL can't put the facilities in place to assist passengers who have a problem paying their fare, they probably don't deserve the fare.

Prolonged my journey home by experimenting with buses, then chilled for a while before heading to the Post Office to post something I'd sold on Amazon. Unfortunately I got stung by lack of research, and it cost me more to post it than the buyer paid for it. Annoying but educational I guess.

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

short paragraphs #1


Had an interview in London in the morning; bought a travelcard despite already being over budget for the week as I figured that one week over budget and a job is better than one week under budget and no job. Arrived in London earlier than planned so grabbed a £2 King Deal in BK and sat on a bench in Waterloo to eat it. Then walked to and along the river until I reached the bridge nearest the job; walked the rest of the way along back streets.

Several others were waiting for the interview, so I took a seat in the waiting area read the company literature. Eccentric lady called us all into a back room and began conducting a group interview - something I've not experienced before. Think it went well though, I was sitting in the middle and answered everything well because I had an opportunity to think of a response and listen to the others each time. Felt bad for the guy to my right because he had to go first from each time and his answers were weaker because of it.

Got called for an individual interview afterwards, asked a couple of questions, then was told that "a decision was being made about me now". This statement was accompanied by a frown, so I assumed I had been unsuccessful, but wasn't the case: trial shift was arranged for tomorrow. Unfortunately though, Friday was now triple-booked, meaning I had to decide how to go about resolving the situation. Pondered on the train home and sent a text and an email when I arrived; seems to have done the trick.


Had a miniature lay in today, then got up and got ready for my first shift at my weekend job (despite the fact it wasn't the weekend). Arrived early again, so sat on a bench with a Boots meal deal and a book. Received tour of the kiosk and the upstairs storeroom, as well as my uniform (apron and camp hat), a run down of the company policy and procedures and a heap of forms to fill in. Also received complementary coffee which was nice.

Shift went well, it was 5 hours which seems to be fairly typical, and as with my trial I had a go at everything. Learned how the machines worked, the difference between Espresso and Cappucino, how to make sweet and savoury food simultaneously, and had a chat with each of my co-workers. Good start, I felt. Met Mum and Bro after work for dinner in Nandos which was nice, then got some sweets and headed to the flat via local supermarket. Had some cider when we arrived, then watched TV for a while before bed.


Had bacon and egg scramble for breakfast, then went for a quick walk on the beach with the remote controlled quad bike. Bro had the control but hasn't yet grasped the concept of steering, so he chased the quad bike around 'til the battery died. Got in the car when this happened and drove into town. Brief shopping trip followed, we had 38 minutes on the parking meter which proved long enough to get a few things, then headed back to the car and to the next item on the day's agenda.

Arrived at the zoo around noon. Got in for £0 with annual passes which is always a touch, then walked "the usual" route. Passed tigers, monkeys, baboons and boars, stopped for pizza, then saw elephants and small cats before stopping at the swing park for a coffee and looping back up to the gift shop via the gorillas. Was fun as always, but especially so with Mum and Bro. Headed home via supermarket to grab ingredients for tonight's dinner party; sat in the car park for 20 minutes listening to Classic FM while Bro slept, then did an extremely brisk shop.

Had a bath when we got back to the flat, then started cooking. First time I've cooked for more than 4 (that I can recall) so it was a bit intense, but the meal turned out well. I made mild beef burritos with poutine, salad, and an optional chilli mix. Sharon and co arrived in the final stages of preperation, and Connie and Dan gave me a hand with the last bits.

Ate together, then Bro went to bed and the rest of us started a game of Blackjack. A Lindt Rabbit was the prize at stake and after a long game it went to Sharon. Blackjack was fun, as was the whole evening, but personally I prefer Poker! Sat at the table talking afterwards, then went to bed shortly after Sharon and co left.


Miniature lay in again, then started getting our stuff ready and locked up the flat before heading to Grandma's. Drive there took around an hour, during which time me and Mum spoke and listened to music. Bro was watching a DVD.

First time I'd seen Grandma's new house, and I liked it. Smaller than their old one but in a good way; more cosy and homely. Had usual lunch (salad, chips and other bits) and apple pie, then went for a walk on the beach. Threw stones at the water for a while then turned back when we started getting cold. Saw the garage and garden when we got back and discussed how they could be improved, then had a coffee and a chat before leaving to go home. Michael gave me a couple of pairs of shoes which he doesn't wear any more, which was nice!

Drive home fairly uneventful. Got in and had bath, then got ready for curry at Uncle's. Mum and Bro dropped me off and stayed briefly, then played Wii with Uncle and cousin before eating Uncle's home made curry (with real panir cheese!). Cousin went to bed shortly after, then me and Uncle spent the evening talking, drinking and playing various video games. Ended up staying the night.

It was a good end to a good weekend.

Monday, 22 March 2010

first post (despite evidence to the contrary)

Hello, all.

At the moment this blog is midway between being formulated and being actualised. My current blog, sugiharagami, has encountered numerous layout-related problems which I am unsure how to resolve, and I feel its title/theme is not wholly relevant to its content.

The title of this blog is a portmanteau of the words latitudes and platitude; the former being the geographical location of a place relative to the Equator, and the latter being a "trite, meaningless, biased or prosaic statement that is presented as if it were significant and original" (Wikipedia, 2010). The word is meant as a pun referring to the recurring theme of travel in my blogging and the stereotypical image that blogs are just a place for people to rant whatever is on their mind in a not particularly eloquent fashion.

I plan to move old posts from sugiharagami to this blog over the next few weeks, to put all new posts here, and to alter the layout to something a bit more aesthetically pleasing, so keep checking back.

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

(2.0109 x 1013) ÷ (6.692 x 109)

According to the World Bank, the population of Earth at 13:36pm GMT March 9th 2009 is 6,692,030,277. My library account number is 20109006909273, and logic would therefore dictate that mine is account number 20109006909273 to be opened.

If I subtract 1 from the population of the world to represent me, then divide by my library account number, the number I get is truly staggering: it appears that EVERY person in the world has, on average, 3004.9 accounts with the libraries of the borough in question.

That would explain why I always have to place a hold on the book I want.

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

pessimism / optimism

Winston Churchill once said "a pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty".

Christopher Lee (me) once said "what are you, then, if you see both?"

Because surely there are opportunities in every difficult situation, and once you identify and overcome the difficulties, the opportunities are presented to you. Surely also it is unrealistic to think that there will be no difficulties to overcome just because an opportunity has arisen.

I can't tell whether W.C. was being very cryptic and implying that everyone is simultaneously pessimistic and optimistic, or it is merely one of his weaker quotes.