Thursday, 26 August 2010

Bleary-eyed Musings

Well, it's 4am and I just thought I'd check in to spill my thoughts across the technological void. Just finished watching series 1 of Dexter - a US TV show/drama about a psychologically unhinged Miami forensics expert who also moonlights as a serial killer. And I have to say that it's one of the best shows I've had the pleasure of watching. Prior to Dexter, I was pretty engrossed in Fringe - a kind of next-gen X Files clone, but I got a bit bored of it towards the end of season 2 because it got a bit ridiculous and started throwing loads of random new characters in...and just got a bit boring. Same thing happened when I tried to get into series 1 of 24. I know everyone bleats on about how good 24 is, but I got to episode 15-ish (I think) and then got bored. Dexter, on the other hand, kept my attention all the way through. I borrowed the series 1 DVD box set off a friend last week and blasted through all 12 episodes in under 2 days and I'm seriously considering purchasing series 2 and 3 once I have sufficient funds. And for someone who never, ever buys DVDs, that's a strong indication of how good I thought the first series was.

Thinking about it, it's quite apparent that I do have something of an issue when it comes to sticking with things to the end. That's because it something doesn't really grab me, I switch off and let it fall to the wayside. And it's not just TV series - I do it with films too. Most movies follow some kind of formula and with the vast majority, I seem to be able to predict what's going to happen and then just switch off about three quarters of the way through. And then there are games too - I usually get a fair way into a game and then get bored and end up trading it in before I've even finished it. Why? who knows...but I guess I'm just one of those people who needs to be constantly shown something new for my attention to remain focused. Probably why I'm always complaining about being bored. Hmmm. Either that, or I'm just generally bored with my life at present. Yeah - it's most probably that, to be fair. Pfft.

Just looked at the little clock in the corner of the screen. It's 4.35am now. 2 hours to go before I can get the fuck out of this hideous little cell and go to bed. And fuck, do I need to get some sleep. The past 3 days have seen me go to bed at about 7am and then get up again at about 11 to go to the gym or some shit, but I know for a fact that today that simply isn't going to happen. I am absolutely fucked beyond belief and I reckon I'll spend the whole cunting day in my pit. The upside of that is that tonight I (hopefully) won't feel like a wet, crumpled newspaper; the downside is that when I awake I'll only have coming back here to this fucking horrendous cubicle to look forward to.

It's bad news when you hate your job as much as I do. You spend so much of your life at work that when you despise it this much, it has an adverse effect on your whole personality. Look at the facts. If you enjoy going to work, there's a damned good chance that you're likely to be a generally happy or upbeat person. Which is great. If, however, you see your job as some kind of punishment or prison sentence (as I do), and you spend every second that you're away from it dreading going back...then it's going to manifest itself in the form of a generally negative attitude. Hence my current, slightly melancholy outlook on life. Oh, to have a job I enjoy. Oh to have a job where there's someone to actually talk to or have a laugh with. Humph. I have had jobs in the past that I enjoyed, but they were mainly temp jobs and so by their very nature didn't last that long. One particular job I had was working in the reprographics department of a huge law firm in Manchester. The 'workshop' was in the basement of the office block and there was a team of about 5 of us down there basically photocopying documents etc. Sounds dull as fuck, I know, but in reality it was anything but. Normally, we would have to enlarge building plans etc and because the photocopiers were only able to enlarge up to a certain size, we sometimes had to do it by hand, using rulers and massive sheets of paper across the tables. It was actually quite good fun recreating massive scale copies of the documents and architectural plans, and the banter was brilliant, too. Ah...halcyon days! A far cry for the miserable and solitary existence I now lead. Tut.

This post has gone off on a bit of a random tangent (don't they all?!) and I'm bored now (see paragraph 2 for further information), so until the next time (probably 4am tomorrow morning)...adios.

Monday, 23 August 2010

The Week That Was

Hola. It's been a week since I last updated and a fair bit has gone on. Well, a 'fair bit,' when compared to the usual amount of non-stuff that happens in my weeks away from this hallowed keyboard. Non-stuff. Hmmm. Could be a worthy entry in the Newspeak dictionary of 1984. Anyway, yeah - I've been away for a week but now I'm back grinding out the night shift for the next seven. Pfft. I can see myself getting to Wednesday before I start to hate all of humanity and the entire pantheon of creation on Earth, due to the cranium-destroying boredom and tiredness that is associated with my current post. Hopefully the vast collection of reading materials I have amassed will tide me over. Bit of Lovecraft, bit of Orwell...and maybe even a tiny little bit of Dan Brown's latest novel, The Lost Symbol, if I can prise it from a colleague's gnarled talons.

Went to a driving range on Monday. Was a bit elitist, being in deepest, darkest Dorset and all, and when me and my accomplice entered the club shop in order to collect some clubs/get some tokens for the ball machine (er...where you get the golf balls from) there was a sudden change in the courteousness of the old twat behind the counter. Probably because neither of us speak like we have broom handles wedged up our rectums and weren't wearing chinos and pink tank-tops. But nonetheless, we acquired some 'irons' and some balls and proceeded to smack them up a range for a good hour or so. Was quite a good laugh and I actually went again later in the week for round two. Probably won't make me want to dress up like a prize prick and take up the 'sport' proper, but visiting the driving range is something I might be tempted to do with more regularity after trialling it this past week.

Tuesday saw me take a trip out to visit a mate at his flat. We played on the Xbox for a bit and then, inevitably went to get a few cans of 'refreshment' from a local shop. This then turned into a load of other people turning up at his gaff and us both being coerced into visiting a local town for a few more 'quiet drinks.' It was a fairly uneventful night to be honest, and certainly didn't involve me relapsing and doing everything I poured scorn on in one of my recent posts - i.e. getting wankered and spending a shit load of cash on booze...although it did see me get twatted by a group of bouncers and then taken to the hospital for a head X-ray. I won't go into the details of the story but it involved me being refused entry to a bar, me trying to gain entrance, and then me being punched to the ground and having my head jumped on by several rather burly gentlemen clad in black bomber jackets. Police, ambulance, X-ray, yadda yadda yadda. I ended up with two black eyes, a broken nose and various other cuts and bruises...which I'll bet looked a treat here at work the following night when I covered a mate's shift on the Desk of Doom (TM). Quite brilliantly, my wounds seem to have healed with amazing rapidity and now, barely 5 days later, the only signs of my beating are a slightly bruised right eye and a scab on my elbow. Ain't the human body ace?!

Wednesday I recovered (a bit) and did the aforementioned night shift. Thursday I went to Lidl and gawped at the weird and wonderful foreign scran they sell there. Seriously, if the one nearest to me was closer than Tesco, I reckon it'd be my supermarket of choice. They've got all kinds of shit in there that you'd never get in ASDA or Tesco. And it's cheap as fuck too. May make an extra effort to get over there more often in the future.

On Friday I just chilled with one of my mates (who, incidentally has had my Dreamcast in his possession for the last two months, and has completed about 20 of my games...something I've not managed in 5 years of owning it), watched Roadhouse (yeah, that shit Patrick Swayze film), ate sausage & mash and just generally loafed about in a pit of filth. It was just like being back at university...but on a military base. Frankly, it was awesome - you've gotta love working over leave periods. But I digress. Went over to see my ladyfriend at the weekend and we indulged in various activities including a visit to an abandoned town called Tyneham. Tyneham, according to the various articles on the net, was cleared of it's population during WWII when the US Army set up a tank training range nearby. The people left all of their belongings there but never returned after the war, so there's this eerie abandoned village just there, slowly falling to bits in the middle of the countryside. It's pretty cool to see it all there and fully open for the public to wander around in. Some of the buildings (the Parish church and the school house) have been renovated and are like mini museums to the history of the town, but the rest of them are empty shells.

On Sunday, I was persuaded to go to the cinema and endure The Sorcerer's Apprentice. I was fully expecting it to be a complete load of shite...but I must admit to being fairly impressed. In case you have no idea what the fuck I'm on about, it's the new Nic Cage film and is about some young lad who is a descendant of Merlin and who is the last saviour of mankind. Fairly bog-standard stuff, I'm sure you'll agree, but there are a few laughs and some excellent magic-filled fight scenes. After that, I enjoyed an amazing Sunday roast (all 20,000 calories of it), and today I came back to reality. Which is where I now reside. And will continue to do so for the next seven nights...but it's not all face-shatteringly bad: I'm off to Paris in two weeks' time. And that will be superb.

So, 'till the next time I can be arsed to update: bonjour mi amigos. Or some shit.

Saturday, 14 August 2010

Rotten Apples

So my iPod has finally died. Well, semi-died. And I have to admit I'm slightly annoyed. It's an iPod Nano 5G - the one with the camera on it - and up until about two weeks ago it worked perfectly and I pretty much took it everywhere with me. It provided tunes in the car (via my slightly antiquated tape-deck adapter) and it provided the motivation I need when I go running. Alas, a few weeks ago it started playing up. Namely, the 'wheel' stopped registering commands and only worked intermittently when I tried to lower or raise the volume and then last week it just died on me altogether. It works fine when attached to the (expensive) dock/speaker thing I bought a few months back, but once it's disconnected it just shuts down and dies. I had a quick look around the iPod forums online and discovered that I'm clearly not the only person who has suffered from this rather infuriating iPod 'death' and it seems that the only way to remedy the problem is to send the thing off to Apple who will attempt to repair or replace the thing for an extortionate amount of money. And they can fuck right off. I've already spent £120 on the thing - I'm not paying to have it fixed when the fault is their...erm...fault! Apparently it's some kind of battery malfunction that stops the iPod from holding a charge, thus rendering it useless unless it is connected to a power source. Grrr. This is, infact, the third iPod I have owned and had go tits up on me. The first two were iPod Shuffles - a first (long and white) and a second (with a clip) generation. They both stopped working due to charging issues. Now this one, my third and most expensive one has also stopped working as it should due to charging issues. I'm seeing a developing trend here.

Here's another developing trend: I will never buy another Apple product for as long as I live. They've had enough of my cash for their products just to fuck up after a few months of moderate use. And to think that my first 'proper' job after I left University was working for an Apple-authorised dealer! Yes, I was a sales monkey at a Apple dealer in Manchester and my days usually consisted of demonstrating the (then) new Power Mac G5 to potential customers and trying to show people why they should go for an iMac instead of an eMac even though at home I had a PC and wouldn't have had anyMac (see what I did there?) even if they gave me one for free. Sure - they look nice...but what, exactly, can you do on them that you can't do on a PC for less money and with more support?! Pfft. Indeed, one of the managers was trying to persuade me to purchase a teeny weeny Powerbook through the staff finance system and as such let me borrow a brand new one for a few days. I got it home and unboxed it, marvelled at the tinyness of it with my housemates...and then it just sat there in my room until I took it back to work because all it had on it was the OS. Great fun.

We also had a load of those old skool iPods with the black and white screen and an actual 'wheel' that span round on the front instead of the fuck-up prone 'touch wheel' that the newer ones have. I bet those fuckers are still working now...unlike my Nano. It makes me want to fucking scream. As a result of Apple's crappiness, I'm having to use my Palm Pre in the gym or when I go running and even though it's pretty small as far as phones go, it's still like having a pebble in your pocket when you're out pounding pavement.

I've decided that as soon as I've got the cash, I'm going to just buy a normal MP3 player again. Sure, it won't be able to utilise the admittedly brilliant iTunes-based music transfer interface I know and love...but Apple - you've lost a customer here. I'll Probably just go down to Argos and pick up a mid-range Phillips or Creative player (or maybe another Sansa Clip, if they still make them), and hopefully it'll last longer than a few months. Gah...

Thursday, 12 August 2010

Books and Boredom

Hello there. Me again. Finished my book yesterday - Down and Out in Paris and London by George Orwell. And what a book it is/was. It's an account of the trials and tribulations faced by the author as he tries to eek out a meagre living whilst looking for work in Paris, and then later living as a tramp in London in the late 1920s. Reading it, you'd be forgiven for thinking the book is a factual account of Orwell's personal experiences (indeed, I though it was), but upon researching the book on the net and looking at Orwell's biography, it appears that the tale is a work of fiction. Fiction based in fact, but fiction nonetheless. Which was a bit surprising considering the amount of detail Orwell goes in to when describing his various situations throughout the story. Fact or not though, the book is a fantastic read and you'd never guess it was Orwell's first proper novel if no-one told you. I was a little sad when I finished it - kind of like how I felt when I completed Zelda: Ocarina of Time. I played that fucker from start to finish in about 2 weeks whilst I was in the first year of my A Levels, and when I finally restored the land of Hyrule to it's former glory, I was gutted. Gutted because in the back of my mind a little voice was saying "now what?!"

So, while the various inhabitants of Kokiri Village and Hyrule Castle were engaging in an eternal dance of victory, muggins here was sat there wondering how the fuck he was going to continue to fill his evenings. And good as it was, I'm not the kind of person who completes a game, only to start again and repeat it. What's the point in that? You've already seen everything so why do it again? OK, so I didn't catch a massive fish in the hut on the shores of Lake Hylia...but who gives a fuck? Reminds me of Metal Gear Solid on the PSX. Yeah - it was a fucking incredible game...but do I really want to replay the entire thing just because Snake is now wearing a tuxedo? I think not.

But going back to Down and Out in Paris and London, I feel that it was such an amazing book and painted such vivid images in my head that I don't think I can read anything else for a few days. Just need to get over it's brilliance before I start on The Road to Wigan Pier. I've also got Animal Farm (as mentioned t'other day) and The Clergyman's Daughter to read, but I've never heard of the latter so may read that last. It seems that I've become slightly obsessed with George Orwell in recent months, but I suppose an obsession with a dead author and his work is more desirable and less destructive than an obsession with drugs, booze, prostitution, crime or vandalism...right?!

I also managed to get hold of some second hand HP Lovecraft short story collections when I was in Bath (love that place) a few weeks back, and I've already smashed through some of them. Slight deviation from Orwell, being horror and all, but they're very good. Noticed severe over use of the term 'waning' when describing the moon...but who am I to argue with the creator of Cthulu (pictured above, yesterday)?!

On a different note, I've started road running again. Went on a few lengthy runs at the start of last week whilst I was up in Manchester, but running through a city like that is fraught with perils - namely busy roads and bus stops crammed with people who simply refuse to get out of your way even though they can see you coming a mile away with your luminous yellow top on. Running in Somerset is somewhat more enjoyable (if running can be described thus) due to the quiet lanes, stunning scenery and over-powering stench of cow shit that wafts like a wraith across hill and dale. Well, maybe not the last point, but you get the idea. Been for three Somerset runs this week and will be embarking on my fourth today. I'll be doing it at dinner time just so I can get off this godawful base for an hour or so. Small pleasures.

Been thinking about my future over the past few weeks. Well, my employment future. I'm quite unhappy with my current job and can't decide whether to put my notice in or not. I really miss city life and wouldn't mind leaving the navy and going to live somewhere like Bristol and just working in an office or a shop or something. Sounds a bit dull, I know, but I really miss having some kind of stability in my life. As it is, I never know where I'm going to be from one month to the next - even now I have no idea how long I'm based in my current location so I simply can't make any plans or think about my future on a personal level. It's quite unsettling not to know where you're going to be in a year's time...which may be great if you're 19 and have no worries in the world...but when you're almost 30 and it's a little worrying. I've got no home, is what I'm getting at, and it's an awful feeling knowing that there's nowhere you can retreat to when things get a little stressful. Hmmm. Leaving the relative security of the services right now just because I don't like my current position may seem a little hasty, but that's just how I feel. My next draft may be fucking awesome and actually live up to everything I thought being in the navy would mean...but so far, I'm decidedly unimpressed with the lifestyle and the levels of abject boredom I'm privy to. Wouldn't mind working on an oil rig or something to be honest, but where does one start when trying to transfer into a career like that?! Something to think about, for sure.

Until next time, bitches!

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Austerity Measures

Well here we are, only 10 days into the month of August and already I'm worrying about having no money. How? Well, it's down to my age old problem of going out on the piss and spending way, way too much money. It's something I do far too regularly for my own liking and it's got to fucking stop sooner rather than later. Here's the scenario: I go out on a Friday or Saturday night. I plan to spend a set amount, say £30, so I take it out of the cash machine before the evening begins. A few hours later and after several pints of lager or cider, I decide that I'm not drunk enough yet (I'm probably smashed already, I hasten to add) and then proceed back to the cash point and draw out another ridiculous sum of money. Cue more drinking, ridiculous behaviour and waking up in the morning with a massive hangover, feelings of regret and a gigantic hole in my bank balance. And this destructive cycle has happened not once or twice, but thrice this month so far. And I'm fucking sick of myself for it.

Granted, the nights out I've had have been pretty good, but this is besides the point. By the middle of the month, I don't want to be scabbling around in the dirt for enough money for some petrol, a loaf of bread or a day out. It's no way to live and after next month's trip to Paris (more later), it fucking ENDS.

The nights out? Well, the main one was a trip to Bristol that culminated in a stay in a backpacker's hostel. It was a really good night out to be fair and I always enjoy taking in the experience of an unfamiliar city, it's just that the excursion signalled the start of my week of unbridled spending. That was on the Friday. The Sunday saw me take a car trip up to Manchester and the petrol wasn't exactly cheap, and the following few days were a flurry of nights out, meals and trying to entertain myself while various friends and family members were at work. As a side note, I must stress that whenever I do go back home, I kind of feel obliged to go out with alarming regularity simply because I have various groups of friends that are totally unconnected and others who can never make agreed meetings due to working hours etc. I obviously feel honoured that people actually want to see me and make arrangements to do's just that it all adds up price-wise. Which leads to my current and rather boring predicament.

Anyway, I'm back at work now and I fucking hate it, but what can one do? At least sitting here and writing this crap, worrying about what I've done and how I'm going to survive the rest of the month means I can't go out and blow the meagre sum I have left on ridiculous, wasteful and unessecary sheight. Urgh. Speaking of work though, I believe I only have around 5 months left in this truly hideous position before I am 'drafted' back into my actual, trained branch. I can't actually put into words how happy this makes me feel...but more about this (maybe) in a future post.

Anyway, must try to stay positive and learn from my mistakes. Although changing the habit of a lifetime will be tough. But tough it must be, or I'll never break this fucking horrendous cycle. I need to start saving, so that's what I'm gonna do instead of go out drinking and wasting money. You'll see. In exactly one year from this post, I'll tell you how much I've managed to save up. Mark my words.

Next week (Monday) I'm off to see the final show of Jimmy Carr's UK tour down in Weymouth with my lady. Actually really looking forward to it. I saw Frankie Boyle live in Bournemouth a few months back and he was brilliant so I'm expecting similar things from Carr. Well, he's pretty funny on TV so I'm guessing it'll be more of the same at his live show, right?! Knowing my luck though, Jimmy Carr will fall ill the day before the show and we'll have to endure an hour and a half of Lenny Henry instead as a back-up act. A man so unfunny he makes cancer look like Shooting Stars.

Random interlude: I had no idea Scott Mills, the Radio 1 DJ, is a big gay. I read it on this thing called the 'Pink List' on the Sunday Telegraph website when I logged on to the internet this morning. I thought it might have just meant he was a gay icon or some shit, but when I looked at his Wikipedia page, it confirmed that Mills came out in 2001 and now prefers the cock. He kept that quiet. Let me clarify that this in now way changes my opinion that the guy is the most tolerable of all the cunts who spout their shite on that godawful station, I just found it quite suprising. Probably won't listen to him anymore, like, but hey. And for those who can't tell - that was a JOKE. Not the gay bit...the not listening bit...erm...

Cough. Anyway.

Decided to smash though all of George Orwell's back catalogue after reading his classic 1985 last week. I've already read Animal Farm and bits of The Road to Wigan Pier, but that was years ago so I'm starting again. This time, however, I'm starting with Down and Out in Paris and London....something I'm likely to be next month if I don't try my damnedest to save some of the remnants of this month's wage to supplement my/our jaunt to the French capital at the beginning of September.