D-Day

And D is for Driving. Yes, at long last, today I take my first driving lessons, over three years from the time I could have started. I’m rather excited, but a little worried about exactly who my instructor is going to be. What if they’re crap? I don’t want to have to “fire” my driving instructor. But I might have to if she’s not going to be able to give me more than one lesson a week. As I’ve said before, I want to get this over as quickly as possible. I’ll probably post again tomorrow with what happened. Here’s hoping I’m still alive…

Another four day weekend comes to a close. I didn’t exactly do much, but I did dig out a fairly old, but fantastic, game called StarCraft. Unfortunately, I spent most of the weekend saving Jim Raynor and his chums. I’ve never completed the game without having to cheat, but that was in my youth when I didn’t think much of cheating. Yet, it did ruin so many games. Now I’m revisiting them without the aid of “operation cwal” and “show me the money”. Makes it much more interesting.

From today I have three weeks to hand in my 1000 word research proposal, and four weeks to hand in two 3000 word essays. So, I think the time approaches that I get down to work on them. I have promised myself that I must start my reading/note taking for these essays this week, so that I don’t feel as pressured as I would if I started next week.

The difference this year is that exams will start the week after I hand in essays, so I shouldn’t leave this till last minute anyway, or I won’t have any time to revise. This is a test of self-discipline!

I really need to shave…

Quizzy / Terroristy

For the past two weeks now, me and my housemates have tried to reinstate an old tradition. Last year we went to Quiz Night on Tuesdays almost every week for a whole semester. Then we got fed up of losing. But now we’ve decided to start going again.

The results are not too bad. First week we got 47/60, six points away from the winner. But yesterday we got just 38/60, with the winners getting 50. The questions were harder, but we were also a couple of people down. In any case, it’s remarkable how the answer to “what F is the brand name of a kitchen resin work surface” only comes to me in the split second before the answer is going to be read out. Of course, it’s Formica. That would have given us the 39/60 that one of my friends predicted we were going to get.

I like quizzes. I like to think I have a pretty good general knowledge. That is usually borne out as I come up with a lot of the answers, but when it comes to questions on popular culture, and sometimes popular music, I invariably don’t have a clue. It’s a pretty damning indictment of the fact that I don’t really care about what’s going on in the world of entertainment. But I reckon that that’s a good thing. If its only value to me is in winning a quiz every Tuesday, then I think it’s well worth skipping. Or maybe that’s just the sour grapes talking.

Today is Dull Wednesday. Wednesdays are dull because they are full of unexciting lectures and tutorials that I will have to go to in a few moments. But the reward for getting through today will be a long weekend. I have Thursday and Friday off again. Which is very nice indeed.

Last night I had a weird dream about some terrorists alert happening on a train I was on. Yet, somehow, there were no terrorists on the train. We were just on alert. So we were boarded by armed response units… and the next minute I’m talking to these people who tell me that it is probably their fault as they have five tea bags on them, and tea bags are not allowed through customs when we arrive at the end of our train journey. I don’t know where we were going to.

So I seized the initiative. And the tea bags. Everyone was told to sit down and put on two seat belts (?)… and we continued the journey. When we arrived at the destination, I walked through the “Anything to Declare?” red zone of customs, and handed over five tea bags.

Then I woke up, thoroughly perplexed.

Hmmm

Once again life seems to be moving so quickly that I’ve forgotten that I haven’t blogged for just over a week. I think I’ve been fairly busy this week, but I still have the looming threat of essays over me. Far in the distance I can already see SS Exams sailing towards me, but I can ignore that for now.

This week I donated some blood. I must bruise fairly easily because I ended up with another bruise, although it was much smaller than the massive one I had last time. Nice to know I’ve contributed something in a small way. I hope it comes in handy to someone!

I went to see Wallace & Gromit on Wednesday at the pictures. Hilarious. Well worth it. And it cost me nothing because I used my 4 loyalty card stamps for Odeon. Now those really are a “loyalty card” worth using. Made it even more worth it. I worked it out… the first stamp comes with the card, the other three stamps were all received when getting two-for-one on “Orange Wednesdays” with NUS student discount. That’s £1.65 per go = £4.95. So during the life of this card I’ve seen four films for £4.95. Not bad. My bargain hunting and thrifty grandparents would be proud of me.

The other “interesting” project of this week was the decision between me and a housemate to do something about the mess in the back yard. We had noticed that there seemed to be a rather foul smelling lake forming all along the side of the house. Unfortunately, the drains had stopped… draining. The water was stagnant, with a layer of oil floating on top, mixed with food, white chunks of whatever was stuck in the drain, and lots of black paint that the cowboys who fixed the gutters over summer happily disposed of in our garden.

So we scraped most of it out. I jammed things down the drain and scooped up masses of this white, cheesy looking substance. It worked for the most part, but the smells it was releasing were truly horrendous. I had a headache for the rest of the day from working out there.

Eventually we had to surrender and get in the Big Guns – we’d got rid of most of it, but far down the drain must have been a bigger clump that needed something bigger to flush. In an astonishing twist of efficiency, the landlord sent out people to sort out the problem in just under 4 hours from reporting. After waiting months for a cooker repair, this was a big surprise. I’m pretty happy with him for a change.

Still, it was Not Nice. There’s still more we need to do out there now it’s draining again, and it might even look like a half decent garden when we’ve finished with it.

Unfortunately, my driving lesson had to be postponed. There’s too much demand around here right now, so there are no instructors available. Sigh. Instead, it’s been rescheduled for 31st October. Maybe I’ll learn to drive one of these days…

Overall… life is fairly OK. I feel pretty stable right now.

New Things

Things have moved a little since last time. The absent housemate has returned. It was, as predicted, girlfriend issues. But it went a little further into the realms of adolescent crisis of identity, confidence and ability. The kind of thing I seem to go through on a regular basis, despite being done with this whole “growing up” thing – allegedly. So society says.

So that turned into a late nighter when me and a friend offered as much advice as we could. It seemed to help a lot, but I still think he’s not himself. It will take a while to get through it, of course. We just have to be there to help support him. Unusual for something like this to come out in such a public way though. I wonder if he’s feeling embarrassed about it now. I know if I came out with all the stuff I dredge through in my mind I probably would be…

On a happier note, I won £50 a couple of days ago for completing surveys on the YouGov website. I had a feeling I was going to win something one of these days. The first time I’ve ever won anything in my life. I’m pretty sure of that. The money has been spent on a brand new pair of speakers, which I’m very impressed with. I’ve never spent more than a tenner on PC speakers, but this is worth it. Much more powerful bass. I also flogged my old pair for a fiver. Not bad.

I also decided to break the driving lessons hiatus by calling up a new instructor company. Their cars look like the reverse of ladybirds – black with red writing on – but I think I can handle it. In theory I have my first lesson on Monday at 3pm as long as my new instructor contacts me tomorrow. It’s going to set me back a lot, but I have stashed most of my money for the work I did at the start of this term for this very purpose. I want this damn thing out the way.

I also passed the practice theory test for the first time today. I bought some CDs the other day off eBay which have loads of “official” theory tests on them. I had failed 4 in a row until today – all pretty borderline. But today I passed. Things are looking good.

Life Goes On

It’s been a while since I last posted here. 9 days is something of a record for me. I suppose it’s a bit of a combination of nothing happening worth writing about, and just being too busy concentrating on University work.

In the meantime, I decided to arrange some driving lessons. But of course, there is always some farce as far as I’m concerned. I called up the driving school, had a short discussion and told them I wanted to do the lessons as quickly as possible. I don’t want to be doing one hour a week until 2007. I don’t have a car to practice on, so if I did that I’d forget so much inbetween weeks. It would just be nice to get this out of the way so I don’t have to worry about it when I finally have to leave University.

So the good intentions were there. Unfortunately, they weren’t returned. The guy I phoned assured me he would call back that evening. He didn’t. He didn’t phone on Friday either, and it’s looking pretty bad for today as well. Stupid. I don’t know how I always seem to end up in these situations. Now I don’t want to call them, because they said they would phone me, and now I don’t want to phone another driving school because I feel that would be a bit mean on the one I phoned first. Then again, it doesn’t exactly bode well if they can’t even return a call when they said they would. Hmm.

On Thursday one of my housemates left completely out of the blue. He still isn’t back. When he came to tell me he was going home “for the weekend” he looked extremely upset. It looked like he had been crying, but when I asked him what’s up he wouldn’t respond. Typical manly response, I’m afraid. We men just won’t talk about problems. The strange thing then was that his mum phoned me asking if I knew what was up. That implies that it’s not a problem at home. Probably trouble with his girlfriend as usual, but he is not the kind of person to break down for anything. I hope he’s OK.

Anyway… life really does go on. I’m no nearer to deciding on my future, and I’ve tried to put my negative feelings about life out of my mind for now. Either way, the clock continues to tick.

Unwell

In probably my first truly sad post in many months, I am kicking off the new month with a whimper. October arrives, and with it it has brought me a nice cold which has struck viciously overnight. One of my housemates has already had a cold for about a week, and so I thought I was going to get away with it.

I thought wrong. I hope I don’t suffer for as long as he did. I’m pretty sure that this is my first illness since this time last year; I very rarely get ill. If I do I normally take it easy for a day and drink lots of water and by the next day I’m able to operate again, even if I still have a few symptoms. I can’t stand having to stock a wad of toilet roll in my pocket because I never know when I’m going to sneeze and release masses of mucus.

But it’s more than this. The long slow descent into winter is finally taking effect. It’s getting pretty cold in this house now, and the dark nights really do make the whole place rather gloomy. Combining this with the fact that the workload has increased exponentially in this past week and is sure to continue, and the fact that I’m Looking Forward to life beyond University once more, and it’s bringing together some rather miserable moments.

Looking Forward is not something I’ve done for a while. I have no real clue what to do after Uni, but I would like to avoid studying more if possible. I have always had a slight inkling that teaching might be for me, and after summer that theory might well be true, but then you can’t really compare like with like. It’s also possible that I enjoyed summer so much, and I’m pining for it again now, because it’s a rare thing. I’m sure if I was doing that every day forever I would eventually get bored after many months. No. It is healthy that I now have something to look forward to, driving me forward.

But what about life in the future? I had a late night discussion with two friends the other day going on until about 3am… we just talked about how I feel politics is dead (funny, cos that’s the subject I’m studying), society is ceasing to function, and international affairs are just depressing. If you look at the wider picture in the world, it’s really hard to see anything but doom and gloom. I’m not sure what kind of world we’re entering into these days, but it really doesn’t seem good.

The future is worrying. It annoys me that amidst my depression about the world, I’m going to have to eventually do something within it and Know My Place around it. Another opportunity wasted. Another pointless life.

Sigh.