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.

Sunday, 6 June 2010

way upon way upon way

you wouldn't think a frappé latte could act as a metaphorical catalyst, but today one did.

at work there seems to be two ways to do everything - the right way, and their way. their way is always right despite it often not matching the right way, and following the right way can get you in a lot of trouble because you aren't doing it their way which despite being right, is wrong.

as you can probably guess, this system causes problems (mainly because it's fucking retarded).

each aspect of my job is governed by a nifty document outlining the right way to do everything (let's call it The Holy Book), which is posted around the workspace as to always be visible. I decided upon being employed that following The Holy Book would be the best course of action, and envisioned that my colleagues would do the same, although unfortunately this is not the case:

it seems that each colleague has devised their own way of doing most things, and for the most part I have no problem with this as the outcome is the same, or at least unnoticeably similar, and creative thinking should probably be encouraged. the one thing that does grate on me though, is when they presume their way is the right way, and that my way (the right way) is the wrong way, and proceed to lecture me accordingly. (I'm not being smug by saying my way is the right way, by the way; I follow the rules set out by the company, so unless something is intrinsically wrong with the company, logic would imply that the rules (their way) are/(is) right).

but I digress.

I mentioned a frappé latte acting as a catalyst, and this is exactly what happened today - The Holy Book states that powder should be added first, followed by ice, then milk to the top. this assemblage should then be blended, poured and served to the customer, this is the right way, and this is the way I do it. this doesn't match their way however, and today "they" observed me making a frappé (chocolate flavour, I recall), noticed I was doing it the right way, and punished me for my insolence (by way of slagging me off). not one to enter petty slinging matches, I merely highlighted how if they want to do things their way, fully aware that their way is the wrong way, they have no place to tell me when (they think) I'm doing it wrong. also that if they had a problem with this, they could stick it.

the moral of the story is: either follow the right way with resolve and accept that occasionally the right way will be (perceived as) wrong and you will be lectured accordingly, or follow their way, alter whose way you follow depending on who's around, and ignore the way that is intrinsically right for the one that is right in their eyes but intrinsically wrong.

a further moral of the story is: work is intrinsically fucking retarded

as the days keep turning into nights

time's flying recently - it's the Summer equinox in just under 2 weeks, and I've been back from Canada for nearly twice as long as I was there(!). Although now I think about it - time always flies: it almost seems like yesterday that I was getting ready to go to Canada / Keele / secondary school...

but it's too easy to let things blur and run into each other when they go past at such speed. So easy in fact that sometimes it's hard to appreciate the times that stand out enough as to make an impression. For want of a better analogy - it's like looking out the window of a moving car at the landscape flying past; fields, trees, buildings, small animals and whatever else all part of the melange, but only the interesting things (like crop circles, or horrific car crashes) stand out.

I think it'd be nice to be able to pause the view;

bring out each individual field, tree, building and small animal;

look at it, and appreciate it for what it actually is, instead of as a fleeting detail.

now, stepping back from my (crap) analogy for a minute, I think that was a subconscious goal of mine when I set up this (and any previous) blog(s). It/they provide(s) at least something in the way of a record of the past - and usually of the otherwise fleeting things like overly petulant people I encounter at work, or products that elicit particularly strong sensual reactions (the fields/trees/buildings/cows of my analogy, as it were).

(also, just to clarify for any perverts; I was referring to Vanilla Coke)

these are the kinds of thing that can so easily fade into the background, and eventually into obsolescence, so try to notice them. try to appreciate them, as often they'll have at least some form of positive impact on you (even if it's just a brief smile)

and if they don't, just let them fade :)