Optimus Maximus

It’s been a bit of a tiring few days. So the great time moving swindle coming tonight (or rather, in 54 minutes time) probably couldn’t come at a more appropriate moment.

I’ve done an enormous amount of work on one of my essays. So much so that, next week, I will be in a position to start writing it. The tedious note taking process, the bit that actually is the hardest and takes so long, has been concluded, as has a draft plan of the essay. It’s always a good sign when the plan contains almost one sixth of the words in the word limit. There should be no problem there.

On top of that, I’ve continued putting more data into the database for my dissertation. I now have just 35 more surveys to put in, and then the good stuff can begin. I think I will actually enjoy this. 15,000 words may seem a lot, but as long as I keep doing a little bit more each week, and on a topic I’m interested in, it shouldn’t be a problem. Optimism again.

The other development is that I must now start getting myself fit, as my first official game to referee is going to be next Saturday. Although there is a delicate risk that I may be called upon to referee a friendly game tomorrow at very short notice. I’d rather not, in truth, as I still don’t have a referee kit. Or a whistle. Plus I don’t think I’m mentally prepared for it yet. I will be next week. Well, as ready as I’ll ever be.

On Thursday evening as well, a friend of mine drove over to Hull for a visit, which was nice. I managed to use his car to good purpose, saving me a trip to Asda on the bus. Plus, I then ate too much in Pizza Hut. Not good for the so-called fitness regime.

Nevertheless, that did start in earnest this morning, when I went out for a brisk jog to test just how much I need to do. The answer was: a lot. So now I need to keep to that. That will be the hardest bit. When the rain’s coming down and it’s freezing outside…

The next couple of weeks are actually very intriguing for me. If all goes to plan, I’ll have one essay done, one literature review done, started refereeing properly, and might even (fingers crossed) have been invited for interview for the teaching degree. Everything is trickling into place at this moment in time… and that’s just fine.

Long may it continue.

82%

The pass mark for the referee exam was 75%, and so I am now a qualified referee. I suspect I could be dangerous with a whistle. I’m obviously very pleased with the result, apart from the fact that it now means I have to start spending even more money on referee kit. Great. It’s going to take about 10 games or so before I get back all the money I’ve spent on this so far.

Now I just have to wait to be summoned. Apparently I will be contacted by one of the leagues who are desperate for referees. Which is a bit odd. I hate waiting for phone calls. Too nerve wracking. Every time the phone rings you’re expecting it to be what you want… and then, it isn’t.

Meanwhile, the sport infested weekend (filled with typical English failure!), combined with the referee course, put paid to any hopes I may have had for doing some work. This means that I need to make up for it this week. I already did some work last night, and today I will be shortly uttering the immortal words, “To the library!” as if it was something I’m looking forward to. Tuesdays have become my day of preparing for next week’s seminars, and now I’m into a routine I feel good about it. Makes me feel like I’m a proper student. But then again, to be a proper student I should be out drinking every night. Not happening.

There is a bit of unease in the house at the moment, though, which makes me enjoy not being here. Two of my housemates have had a little falling out, and I have sympathies with one of them, but I don’t want to get involved apart from trying to make the peace. There were tentative steps taken last night as the three of us were all talking in the living room, but it was evident that more time is needed to get over the problem. The real issue revolved around one of these two housemate’s girlfriend… who is not exactly popular in these parts with a third housemate, who happens to be the girlfriend of the other housemate out of the original two. Confused?

But I’m reasonably pleased with how things are going at the moment. When I’ve done some solid work by the end of this week (note the optimism) things will be on track for the time being.

The only thing that’s bugging me at the moment is the fact that I really need to cut my hair… and there is a distinct lack of opportunity for doing so. In fact, I’d say it has reached 82% of the length I can tolerate, where 75% is the time beyond which it could be cut.

Hey, that looks like a convenient place to finish!

Sore Feet

I’ve been oddly busy over the past few days, which has precluded me from blogging. It’s been great to have lots of stuff to do, though very little of it has been academic work. Which is bad, as the deadlines are approaching…

Last weekend I was away in London for the jolly I mentioned in my previous post. That was a really good time. Probably ate a little bit too much at the all-you-can-eat place we went to, but as we were watching the England rugby at the same time it didn’t really matter, because that kept my mind elsewhere. Or rather, it distracted me from keeping track of what I’d eaten.

Meanwhile, on Monday and Tuesday night, the referee course got into gear. So far so good, but the big stuff is coming at the weekend, and the test on Sunday. This is mildly exciting, but it’s also another distraction from my work. Though to make up for it, I did spend most of Tuesday in the library.

Going to the library is almost like the feeling I used to get after the Compulsory Confession that my Catholic primary school used to make me do. There’s always a sense of trepidation on entering, and then whilst there one has to recompense for the sins of the past. Then when you leave, the sun is shining, the world looks good again. And you promise yourself to never let it be so long between visits again…

Of course, that never happens. The reason why is that due to the likes of Google Books and all the academic content available online now, I can get lots of material without having to leave the comfort (yeah right) of this chair I’m in now. Which means I spend even longer at this computer and in this room.

During this post, I have been interrupted by the arrival of The Cleaners. These mythical creatures are only seen once in a few months. In truth, I’d rather not have them as they are little more than snoopers for the people we rent the house off. Plus, because of the shame of some terrible meal someone cooked two days ago which was still in a pan in the kitchen, I have had to hide it in my room while they are here so that they don’t see it (they only clean the communal areas, you see). Which is not good, as the pan smells. And it’s filled with sausages, which doesn’t suit my vegetarian sensibilities.

As for yesterday… well, I think I must have walked about 10 miles in a day. I had to go the post office delivery centre in order to pick up something, then go to the University, then go into town twice, inbetween times going back home. I did end up with a pair of football boots at the end of the process, however, which is great. I’ve been meaning to buy them for ages but could never be bothered to make the journey into town for them. Now I need to wear them in a little before Saturday. Not likely considering I don’t have a conveniently located field near me.

Not that I can walk very well at the moment. 10 miles takes its toll…

Here Goes Nothing

Yesterday morning I submitted my teacher training application form. So there’s no going back now. My mind was made up anyway, but there’s always a bit of trepidation about these things. I read everything about 100 times just to make sure I’d made the application as good as I possibly could. In the end I was sick of looking at it… and now it’s gone.

The waiting game begins. One that I’m terribly nervous about. My main concern is that if this does not go well, my plans are in ruins. Well, that is until I can put plan B into action, which would be to find a teaching assistant job while applying again for the 2009 academic year. What annoys me is that I look at some of the people who I know have got onto teacher training, some of whom have never written an essay in their lives, and others are not amongst the sharpest knives in the drawer… and so it would really upset me if I failed to even get an interview.

Then there are others who tell me I’m almost guaranteed an interview thanks to the fact that I’m a man applying for primary school teaching. Well… somehow that sits rather uncomfortably with me. I don’t like the idea of inbuilt bias. I want to know that I’ve been selected for interview/selected for the course because my application was good enough anyway.

But now it’s gone I feel a weight has been lifted. I can now concentrate on the other bits of my life that are probably more important. Like the dissertation. Very soon I will have to sit back and input around 7,500 bits of data into SPSS. This is a brainless activity that I will be very grateful of music for. And at the end of it, I imagine there will be a small celebration. I just hope that SPSS throws up some useful analysis at the end of it, or it will be a very boring dissertation… then again, it would be an unusual dissertation that isn’t boring.

The other development is that I’m going to London this weekend for an overnight jaunt with a number of friends. It all stems back to a large football website that I’ve got involved with lately. Details are sketchy to protect the innocent…

And then there is the excitement of the forthcoming referee training course. That’s coming up next week. I’ve been sent all the study material… well, the laws of the game, which I’ve been steadily digesting. It will also be good stuff for the train journey to London. I’m really looking forward to this. It’ll be great to have a hobby that gets me out of the house for some time into the forseeable future (assuming I don’t end up hating it!). That’s always been the problem with the hobbies I have… they don’t really get me out and about. Unless I’m going to go busking.

The other bonus is that refereeing normally comes with a very small fee, £10-20 per game. Which is nice going for something that I wouldn’t actually expect to be paid for. In other words, I’m quite happy to do it for the sheer enjoyment of the game, and getting out and about. But I won’t tell the teams I’m refereeing that, or they might not want to pay me…

So, here I sit. The rain pouring down outside. No lectures today, but lots of reading for me to do, not least for the upcoming seminar discussions. It’s going to be dull day…

Wheels Falling Off

It’s not been a good old week here. It was always going to be challenge for it to have any momentum after its bad start…

Last Sunday I went along to watch my housemate’s football team playing in the Sunday league. Little did I know that I would end up refereeing the game for them. Well, I thought it would be a perfect time to start. After all, if I didn’t enjoy it, there would be no point in me doing the referee training.

It actually went OK. Couple of mistakes, but who doesn’t make them. And I liked it. Plus, it gave me £15 from nowhere. Not bad at all.

The problem stemmed from the fact that I didn’t have any football boots with me, so I ended up borrowing someone elses. That was a mistake. I ended up with serious blisters on my feet, which hampered my ability to run around during the game. But they persisted for the next few days, meaning I could barely walk on Monday. Yet, I had to. I had to do the long walk to University twice on Monday. So there was no chance of healing.

Tuesday wasn’t much better, but the benefit was that my week was over. The usual part time student – all my lectures were over on Monday. So nothing happened while I recovered. Apart from going to do the student union quiz night… which was a lamentable failure as usual, despite me playing the usual blinder in the music round. There’s no doubt other teams are cheating… in fact, the brand new internet cafe next to the union bar is a mistake, since most people were in there at the half time interval “refreshing” their knowledge.

Wednesday came and went without much consequence. I did do a little tidying up, and some washing. And a wee bit of dissertation work. But nothing of any consequence. But at least my feet were better.

So I made plans to do good stuff on Thursday. First of all was to go and give blood. Success. Then afterwards, I wanted to go meet the careers people and sort out my application once and for all. Only, I couldn’t, because I’d forgotten my campus password. I don’t have a printer at home, so I’d e-mailed my personal statement to myself in order to print it out at Uni. So I went to go and get my password reset. That was fine, but it doesn’t come into effect for 24 hours.

So I had to go home. The day effectively over. Now I’m back, with slightly less blood than before. But now I’m going to have to make another trip to the University tomorrow to get this sorted out. Which is bad, because I had made plans to go shopping tomorrow afternoon. Asda beckons…

Now I’m really hungry. I hope my bread hasn’t gone out of date…