Sunday, 27 April 2008

the end of a (soap op)era

The apathy has reached fever pitch.

There's loads of stuff I need to be doing - coursework, revision, placement applications, interview preparation - but I just can't seem to summon up the energy or enthusiasm to even think about maybe considering the vaguest possibility of perhaps making a start on any of it.

It's been a funny couple of weeks. I managed to get my evil hand drill CAD assignment completed a whole day before the submission deadline; it wasn't perfect, but by this point I'd had enough of it.

Frankly, it was all rather too much effort for far too little reward; the Design Embodiment and Materials Selection module only carries one sixth of the credits for the whole year, the actual design part only makes up 50% of the marks for the module, and only half of those marks come from this assignment. Sigh.

A few days after handing in this hideous time-wasting piece of crap, I went off to Wales for (former housemate and splendidly hairy friend) George's stag day/night/shenanigan. I got the feeling that it was going to be a long day when at half eight in the morning we found ourselves in a supermarket car park, with George dressed in gorilla outfit being forced to chug a bottle of beer...

The actual day itself was spent at Go Ape, falling out of trees and flying about on ziplines. I have quite an affinity for such simian capers, and found it to all be rather good fun, if a tad cold and wet. The evening was a more tedious affair, and was pretty much a textbook stag do. Overpriced meal? Check. Rubbish nightclub? Check. Hideous stripper? Check. Bride (also on her hen night) phone up in drunken rage and cancel wedding? Check. Manage to lose groom dressed as a caveman in the middle of Cardiff at 3am while all this was happening? Check.

Of course, everything is more or less back to normal now, and the wedding is on again.

In other news, The Boy has decided to move out, and from sometime next month she will be living with her fella Rich and all his bits of computers. I think I shall miss her... she's been my partner in crime for a good year or so now, and it's been fun getting into all sorts of mischief with her. And not just the sexy kind of mischief. On the plus side, her place will be taken - for a short while at least - by the very splendid and worthwhile Charlie Cat.

And in other other news, my car got stolen at some point on Thursday night. The first I knew of this was when the police phoned to say that they had recovered it in Horfield, and so now I owed them £105 plus VAT. At present they still have my car; I don't know where it is, I don't know when I can get it back, I don't know if it's drivable, I don't know if it's repairable, I don't know if my stuff is still in it... and I've got an interview to get to on Wednesday. It's like these bastards weren't thinking of me at all when they nicked my wheels.

I have, however, found a solution to my predicament. I am drunk.

Monday, 14 April 2008

likes: tinitus, fizzy sweets, neatly organised shelves dislikes: mass murder, things with more than four legs

Metal Terry is not, as his name might suggest, made of metal. But he does like metal (the Slayer kind, as opposed to the carbon steel kind), and he is called Terry. He is also notoriously flaky, which is why last weekend Sam, The Boy and I went to Newport to see Every Time I Die without him.

But first there were the obligatory support acts. First up were Blackhole, an enthusiastic bunch of kids from Hemel Hempstead; they smashed out a decent set of aggressive punk ‘n’ roll tunes, pausing only to beg us to buy their merch. They were actually quite good.

Less good were the next two bands, Drop Dead Gorgeous and Scary Kids Scaring Kids. Mostly it was an hour and a half of tight jeans, fashionable haircuts and unintelligible nasal whining. The kids went wild; we went to the bar.

In theory it should have been Every Time I Die next; but what we actually got was a thirty minute prog epic of a soundcheck as they tried to get their rented equipment to work. Eventually they either sussed it out, or more likely gave up and started playing anyway, and the next hour was spent sweating, shouting and getting kicked in the head by crowd surfers. They were awesome.

I awoke the next day with ringing ears and numerous bruises, made myself a cup of tea and checked my emails to see if there was any news from Safetech Engineering (the consultancy firm where I would be spending a year on industrial placement). And there was! The news was that one of their clients had just lost a £550m contract, and that the basic upshot of this was that I couldn’t have a job anymore.


The only other stuff I had in the pipeline was CERN (to whom I recently re-applied, having only been selected as a reserve candidate first time around), and MBDA (a bunch of missile-toting warmongering fuckpigs). I wasn’t particularly optimistic of my chances of getting into CERN, and didn’t really want to work for MBDA, with whom I had an interview the next day. Would I be able to sell out my principles and accept a job in the defense industry?

Probably; but it’s all academic since they didn’t offer me the placement anyway. I’d feel happier about this if I had another placement to fall back on, but I’m still not too dismayed at not being able to spend a year at MBDA. It was a slightly surreal interview day; everyone there was really enthused by missiles, even the girl from HR. They all seemed completely desensitized to the final application of their products, and either didn’t realise or didn’t care that they basically get paid to kill people.

The next night I got my brain flushed out by more live music. This time I was accompanied to the good ship Thekla by Charlie Cat and The Boy. Pilgrim Fathers started things off; I’d never heard of them before, save for a paragraph in the “ones to watch” section of Rock Sound magazine, but they were damn good in a kind of folky-doom-sludge-psych kind of way. Gay For Johnny Depp were over-aroused and quite excellent, as ever; not that many of the cooler-than-thou indie crowd cared. And then there were 65daysofstatic, a band who have always been about a million times better live than on record. Not that they’re particularly bad on record – it’s just that their skittish drum ‘n’ bass ‘n’ indie seems to have a bit more oomph when witnessed first hand.

But it's all little more than a brief distraction, sadly. This week I have to go back to real life and start scrabbling around desperately for a work placement...

Tuesday, 1 April 2008

laziness is next to godliness

It’s been a busy couple of weeks of getting not very much done.

Not that I don’t have things to be doing; I should be ploughing on with such absorbing bits of coursework as the 3D CAD rendering of a hand drill, and then maybe a bit of Fourier series analysis of heat transfer through a three dimensional material…

But frankly, procrastinating is a far more appealing option.

My rekindled love for timewasting seems mostly to stem from Friday last week, when I got so drunk that I a) managed to make my life just a tiny bit more complicated for myself, and b) turned up to work the next day almost three hours late and still drunk. My family came to visit over the weekend, thus obliterating any hope of sobriety – I am fortunate enough to have a family with a good sense of humour, that likes to get drunk and play board games. We did a lot of eating, a lot of drinking, watched some banger racing in the arctic climes of the Mendips, and in my case managed to get threatened by a ginger cage fighter. Good times.

Of course, drinking isn’t the only great way to waste time – let’s not forget about the toy soldiers. On Tuesday Matt came over, and we built little houses for our little men.


Seriously, if you were a toy soldier geek you’d be going nuts right about now. (stupid well-adjusted normal people… mutter…….)

And then there is the shiny shiny sexbox 360 that Mr Dozer has decided to plonk in the living room, for no readily discernable reason. So now, if I’m not drinking or playing with toy soldiers, I’m racing cars and blasting zombies, and wondering if maybe (in the apparent absence of any kind of self-discipline) I should cut my own thumbs off so that I can’t play the damn thing anymore.