Wednesday, 26 May 2010

cartography, and the art of coffee

Yesterday would have been my 33rd consecutive day at work, and due to the fact that the one "day off" was spent with a migraine, I don't think it counts. Therefore, I am conveniently ignoring its existence and labelling today my 33rd consecutive day at work instead. It would follow then, that yesterday was day number 32.

I was booked at Job A from 10-1, and Granddad gave me a lift there accordingly which meant I had to be up at 8. (The early morning wasn't too pleasant considering (I think) I have an upper respiratory infection at the moment, and my head constantly feels like someone has inflated a balloon inside it).

At Job A I learned by proxy about the onset, aetiology and presentation of various horrific and debilitating cancers while diligently taking notes to be typed up later. It was enlightening, yet slightly terrifying. (Un)fortunately I had to miss the second part of the lecture because of a compulsory (yet arbitrary) training session for Job B.

The journey to aforementioned training session was a pain in the ass, especially considering I made an unnecessary detour home to collect my uniform (which as the "unnecessary" suggests wasn't needed). Somehow I managed not to be late, even not knowing how to get to the destination - I had to purchase some onion rings in a nearby shop and ask the proprietor for directions (which he kindly gave).

Job B's training was all about coffee, and now if any customers ask questions like "what countries border the one where your coffee is from?" or "what is the ratio of Arabica beans to Robusta beans in your decaffeinated blend?", I can answer without fear of spreading misinformation. Demonstrations were also given on milk frothing (optimal volume, timing and bubble removal), milk pouring (optimal angle, rate and jug handling), and final presentation (optimal colour, temperature and cocoa sprinkling).

Training finished after just an hour despite being timetabled to last 4, so I decided to make full use of my travelcard and head to the British Museum to have a look at their exhibition on maps. But first I needed a brief respite from the overload of mental stimulation I'd encountered so far, and luckily one was forthcoming: hilarious birthday cards:

After laughing like a moron for a few minutes and feeling slightly foolish in front of the tourists floating around (the training venue was in a Central London market), I headed to the nearest underground station, asked therein for directions to the British Museum, and began my journey. In a weird (but convenient) twist of events, I saw a sign for the very exhibition I was heading to on the underground platform. I also noted with interest the location: British Library. This piece of news altered my journey slightly, and so I headed back up to ground, along a couple of streets, and through the doors of the British Library.

At first I just stood inside and soaked in the atmosphere - this is truly a magnificent building. The welcome hall is enormous, well designed, and attractive. Informative pamphlets were available, so I picked one up and was immediately amazed; their collection contains such items as original copies of Shakespeare's writings, hand-written Beatles lyrics, and Leonardo DaVinci's notebooks, not to mention thousands of rare and priceless books. I later found out the former 3 were on public display, and spent a short time drooling over them (what a nerd I am).

The map exhibition was good. Its idea is to provide a visual history of maps as an art form, and as devices of propaganda, displaying status and education. Several examples are given of each, all originals (some dating as far back as the 15th Century) and all interesting. The collection features the world's largest atlas, and the smallest, the first map of America as a nation, wartime propaganda maps, and many others. Realising that I know nothing about maps beyond how to read them, I joined a guided tour that started just after I went in, and in exchange for forfeiting the right to exhibition at my own pace, was accepted into the crowd.

I'm no reviewer, and I don't like spoilers so I shalln't go into the contents of the talk here. Instead I'll post this link to the exhibition, and strongly advise you to go see it for yourself. And for those of you short on money/time/intellect who need persuading, it's free/short/not too complicated.

Sunday, 23 May 2010

I don't need a reason why

I had to clean the "gutter" at work today; "gutter" being a euphemism for "filter-that-catches-all-the-shit-that-goes-down-the-sink". For a reason I can't comprehend, this "gutter" is cleaned at extremely distant intervals, leaving plenty of time for aforementioned shit to rot and fester. Considering also that most of the "shit" is discarded food-stuffs, the gutter smells. ("Smells" is also a euphemism in this context (for "absolutely fucking reeks")).

After much protesting on my part, and gentle persuasion on the part of my colleagues, I nobly agreed to undertake the cleansing of the gutter. Apparently this is a "man's job", which in my opinion is a crock of bullshit (equal rights 'n' all), so I was one of two potential candidates on today's shift; the other of whom did it last time. Resistance was futile, unfortunately.

I filled a bin with 5 bin bags, and donned 3 pairs of gloves, then unlocked the cupboard, unclipped the "gutter" cover, and began. Not surprisingly, it wasn't as bad as the hype. Things rarely are, in my opinion, but I admit I was terrified at first. After scraping week-old food into the 5 bin bags, and emptying the infested water, I removed the sieve-like cover and took it to prep-room for cleaning, then cleaned it and replaced it.

It made me think about how readily this society complains, moans and generally isn't satisfied by everything. Then that thought made me feel like an overly cynical bastard, which isn't a thought I particularly enjoy. It's hard to articulate exactly what I mean here, but go on Facebook or listen to any conversation in the street and you'll probably get the gist of it.


Friday, 21 May 2010

@ the post below:

what a load of trough!

It sucks how glumness can set in so quickly, and cast it's glum self over everything else. I think the bout of glumness represented in my last post lasted about 2 days, with it's most severe period late in the last day (when I decided blogging about it would be a good thing to do).

It was averted by a combination of things: firstly me realising that moaning does nothing to solve anything; secondly me realising that despite the "important" thing(s) I'd missed that were "overshadow[ing]" everything else, I've got a lot of important things done as well; and thirdly my Mum tidied my room for me :D

It was really messy.

Anyway, a brief update on what's going on now: it's lovely and sunny outside. I've just eaten a jacket potato with cheese, mustard, salad cream, salt and pepper. In ten minutes I'll get ready to go to work for what would have been my 29th consecutive day at work if it wasn't for a migraine I had last Tuesday. I'm listening to Alexi Murdoch, and meditated recently, meaning I'm highly relaxed. I have a picture in front of me of 2 crows with cigarettes in their mouth, which I tore from the newspaper yesterday.

Riveting information, wouldn't you say.

Sunday, 16 May 2010

automatic writing

at the moment it feels like no matter how dilligent [diligent] I am, and how much I try to follow good habits, plan things in advance, and make good decisions, I always miss something important that ends up overshadowing everyhting [everything] else.

[also], the most arbitrary of mistakes has made me feel like this, which is probably the most ridiculous aspect of how I'm feeling [it].

I just hope I have enough money in time for when I need it, and that I can find a job to support me later on, and that I don't get complacent now, and so many other things that I'm spending most of my time stressing about the tiny details that probably won't have any bearing on the situation anyway.


Tuesday, 11 May 2010

tastes like Neopets

£1.35 for a 12oz can (with staff discount).

4 years at least since I last drank it.

The taste reminded me of playing Neopets with Vecca, and was definitely worth the price, and the wait.

Thursday, 6 May 2010


One month of electioneering, campaigning and debating is drawing to a close. Exit polls suggest a hung parliament, and the Liberal-Democrat bandwagon seems to have gained sufficient momentum to give them a balance of power.

It is my sincerest wish that soon, this persistent election will subside.

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

a grim prospect (lol!)

It's really late and I'm really tired, but at the same time I'm too pumped to sleep! Emily invited me to run a 3 mile assault course with her this December, I accepted, and now it's all coming together. The most interesting thing that's happened so far is realising that Emily converted 5km the wrong way, and that the course is actually 8 miles long; 2.6x longer than the one I agreed to run, but never mind!

Below are three links; one to a site whereon you can donate to our cause, one to our Facebook group, and one to a video of last year's event to show you what we're in for:

The fact that it's called the GRIM Challenge worries me slightly; as does the waist deep mud and prospect of temperatures close to freezing, but to be honest my excitement is currently overshadowing the dread. We went on our first training jog today, and were both more than please with the outcome. A training regime is being planned currently, and hopefully the sponsorship will start rolling in and all will be well :)

As if this wasn't enough to disturb my sleep tonight, I had 4 shots of espresso earlier today to help me stay awake during one of the dullest lectures I've ever attended.

Fun fun fun!