Tuesday, 28 June 2011

bei einnahme sofort arzt aufsuchen

So we found a new place to live.

It is not in Westbury-on-Trym, where the three leading causes of death are 1. boredom, 2. old age and 3. nothing else; and it is a three bedroom house, which hopefully means there shall be no wrangling with tin-pot dictators in flat committees that prohibit all movement, conversation and roller-discos after 7pm because it's a bit noisy and people are trying to die of boredom and old age in peace.

We don't get to move until mid-August; and almost didn't get to move at all, thanks to the credit check agency that vets potential tenants on behalf of our future letting agency. Because I don't start grown-up work until September, there was some question as to whether I would be good for the rent; and the offer letter from my future employer (for which I have studied for five years, completed an essay-style application form, participated in online written, numerical and logical reasoning tests, and attended a two-day assessment centre evaluating my abilities as an individual and a team member) was "only a conditional offer, and anyone can get one of those."

I forget how hard I laughed at this.

Fortunately it is possible to work around their bullshit system, by simply owning up to being a penniless chump and making Dom and the Pixie pay all the rent instead. Awesome.

The whole debacle only lasted for an afternoon, but was somewhat slightly stressful all the same; and so some form of cathartic recreational activity was called for. This was conveniently served up a few days later in the form of a track day at Castle Combe, run by the splendid folks at BHP. Matt, Laura and I took the track slag out for its first outing since we added lightness by, erm, ripping out all the innards and throwing them away. It was an open pitlane, which meant that there was a good mix of exotica, oddities and track hacks in attendance.

We've always found the other folks at these events to be a friendly bunch, and this particular day was no exception. Everyone displayed a remarkable tolerance for our ceaseless questions about their cars, the other guys with BMWs (ours was one of five E36s in attendance) were eager to share their ideas on various performance upgrades, and we even had one old boy offer us a few passenger laps in his Lotus 7-alike. What a tip-top geezer.

There were only a few slight hiccups, the first being a rear wheel that attempted to detach itself from the rest of the car whilst I was tearing around. It probably would have hung on for a few more laps, but I'd promised the Pixie that I wouldn't die and so pulled in to reattach the wheelnuts. The second problem was the brakes, which we worked so hard that the new pads which we had fitted five days ago were reduced to little more than powder by the end of the day.

All of which made for a somewhat cautious drive home. Still, we had an amazing day, met some nice people, and can now legitimately claim to have driven the wheels off of our car.

Monday, 13 June 2011

scud panther

Well, that was nearly it for university. On Friday I was suckered into attending the faculty degree show, a chance for students to show off work that they had little remaining enthusiasm for to other academics and a smattering of industry professionals, who would feign interest but were really only there for the free food and drink. The engineering bit looked like this.

Pretty wild. For a while I killed time by watching the F1 practice on my laptop; but then the wireless connection inexplicably dropped out, and I was forced to focus my attention on other stuff. Mostly I concentrated on not talking to people, by scampering off as soon as it looked like someone might want to talk to me about my project. This meant I got plenty of opportunity to wander around all the other project displays for the creative product design and architecture programmes, and discover that for all the years I'd spent cocking about with rubbish brackets and complex equations they'd been having fun making awesome models out of bits of card and stuff.

Bastards. I would have attempted to drink my way through the rest of the event but for the fact that I had elected to drive there. This turned out to be something of a mixed blessing, partly because of the torrential rain that, had I elected to cycle, would have necessitated the use of spear fishing goggles and possibly one of those rubber rings with a duck's head on the front; but mainly because of the offensive quality of mojito on offer. When I am king of the world, I will have people sent to the gulags for using chopped mint to make mojitos.

I eventually returned to the engineering project room to collect the prize for Best MEng Mechanical Engineering Project, which was awarded to me largely because I was the only MEng mech student there. Whilst final marks and the quality of the project display were all important factors, it had already been made quite clear that attendance was also a key requirement. Which is good, because I have always considered winning on a technicality to be the sweetest of victories, and couldn't bear the thought that I might have won purely on merit. And they only slightly misspelled my name on the certificate and cheque, so really the whole event couldn't have been much more perfect.

The very best way to round the evening off would have been to go home and have a few drinks whilst my Chaos team cruised to a long overdue first win against Matt, who seems to think that his borrowed human team keeps losing because Blood Bowl is rubbish, and not because he is rubbish at Blood Bowl.

What happened instead was that my Chaos team slumped to a humiliating 3-1 defeat against Matt, who believes now more than ever that Blood Bowl is not some kind of Jewish conspiracy against him.

And so I find myself increasing looking ahead towards the next gaming shenanigan, which most of us have agreed should be Mordheim.

I plan to run with a Possessed warband, but haven't really worked out what I want to have in it yet; so I've just concentrated on painting a random assortment of bearded lunatics and gribbly mutants instead.

Like my Chaos team, the Possessed have a lot of muscle but little discernible talent and so are sure to do well.

Monday, 6 June 2011

And so that is, pretty much, it.

Assuming of course that I haven't utterly fucked up one, some or all of the exams/bits of coursework that have yet to have marks published. Which I probably haven't, but optimism was never one of my most defining characteristics.

In the meantime, my days are now largely filled with cups of tea, miscellaneous toy soldier tinkering and playing games of Blood Bowl against an artificial intelligence that only lives up to 50% of its job title.

And now: bullet points. You love 'em as much as I do. Don't even try to pretend otherwise.

  • Gigs 'n' that: went to rather a lot of very splendid electronic music recitals whilst I should have been too busy with other more important things. Amongst others I saw Keelhaul, Knut, Zonderhoof, And So I Watch You From Afar, Shapes, earthtone9 and Humanfly. All of which were awesome, even if at the ASIWYFA gig I got kicked in the jaw so hard that I couldn't eat properly for two days.
  • Moved house. The mice and I are now lurking about in the Nerd Tower with the Pixie and Dom. Which is great, except that this particular bit of Bristol (Westbury-on-Trym) is like one gigantic assisted living community. I am literally too loud for this place; so as soon as we can find somewhere else that we can all agree on, I shall be moving again. This may take some time.
  • Much to the surprise of everyone - not least the mechanics who tested it - the track slag passed its MOT, needing only a replacement pump for the windscreen washers. Coolest advisory ever: "Interior stripped out, no rear seats or seat belts fitted." Like we might not have noticed... Looking forward to another full year of near-death motoring.
  • We finally won the pub quiz again last night. For over a year the Luncheon Club has been dedicated to the destruction of noble gases (apart from a single week, in which we attempted to make reparations with noble gases). Now we can pick something even more inexplicable/pretentious/nerdy to destroy.
  • Finished painting my Chaos Blood Bowl team in between endless/pointless finite element analysis simulations of suspension wishbones. I'd always wished that Matt liked Blood Bowl as much as I do; and now my wish has come true. I hate Blood Bowl. My Chaos team has so far proven itself to be awful at every aspect of the game, and is firmly planted at the bottom of our league table behind teams run by war criminals, sex pests and Victorian moustache wax connoisseurs. Friday games nights are now characterised by despairing sighs, the urge to drink heavily, and frequent use of the phrase BLOOD BOWL IS CUNT. Despite this, I still secretly love Blood Bowl; and I'm quite happy with how my new toys look.
  • Got turned on to an epic dubstep re-working of Jeff Wayne's musical based on H.G. Wells' War of the Worlds. AWESOME.