The Drawing Board Is Bored

Over the past few days, I have sunk a little further into depression at the situation I’m in, but I’m still trying out options to change it.

For instance, I decided to finally get off my backside and register as a referee again. So, with a bit of luck, I will soon be back to doing a game a week, and though it only provides a small financial infusion, it is better than nothing. Desperate times call for desperate measures. I just hope I don’t get injured again.

Meanwhile, I found it in me to put in a couple more job applications. This time I feel a little more positive about the whole thing. I’ve found a job, a six month temporary contract, that could be ideal for me. It would buy me some time to think things over, and provide me with cash at the same time. And it would make sure my current employment gap doesn’t become embarassingly long, making it even more difficult to get a job.

This whole situation has come about for a number of reasons, but chief amongst them right now is a broken promise from a friend who pretty much guaranteed me that he would be able to just give me a job. One of his staff left a couple of weeks ago, and he found out about it a month ago. He said he would be able to get me her job once she left. It didn’t happen. He’d already broken a promise to find me work earlier in the year. Now, maybe it’s just the downturn in the economy making his business not want to give out employment right now – that would stand to reason by the sheer lack of jobs available at the moment – but whatever, I’ve been hanging around, waiting for something that was never going to appear.

Fortunately, the Sunday morning football, around again today, is going to provide me with enough distraction to give me something to do. Plus with the training on Wednesday night that I go to and help out, there’s always something a few days away to look forward to. A shame there’s no money in this. I love it so much that I have now broadened my job hunting search to look for anything football related. Oh, how I’d love to be the Company Secretary of a Premier League club…

I’m also getting more and more involved in a project that is exploring the possibility to make a new football club from scratch. That would be good. And in time, it might even pay me if I’m good at it. I think I am, I just need someone to give me a chance.

But to do the things I want, like making a new club, I neeeeed money. Refereeing and it’s attendant £20 a week is, sadly, not going to do it for me.

And neither is my continual stream of thoughts relating to ideas I’ve got. Much as they’re interesting, in the business jargon, they’re “loss leaders”. That is, they will never make me money. Starting a computer fixing business is an absolute non starter – the market is saturated already. All they’re good for is taking the odd £20 off a distant family member for fixing their PC, riddled with viruses and spyware.

Right now, the drawing board is sick of the sight of me.

Quantum State Inbox

There’s only so many ways you can write out “nothing much happened” in 500 word blog post format, and it seems I’m running out of possibilities at this moment in time. But fortunately, there is something trivial to report.

The worst part of life right now is that my brain is even mocking me. I am in dire need of some good news. Indeed, I’m in dire need of even receiving the application forms I’ve asked for. It’s not a good sign if you ask for a form early last Thursday and still don’t have it today; it probably means they’re a thoroughly incompetent organisation. If there’s one thing I can’t stand, it’s inefficiency. I digress.

My brain is mocking me because I had a couple of dreams last night in which I received an e-mail which contained an offer of real, paying work. Woo! No, it wasn’t a chain e-mail asking me to engage in some fraud. Though that would have been funnier. And it would have made me realise even during the dream that it was a load of rubbish. You know what I mean, when you’re having a dream that’s so ridiculous that even your sub-conscious mind begins to say, “Yeah, right! And that swimming, bright orange sheep just exploded because…?”

But instead I woke up, 90% disbelieving that there actually was something good in my inbox (there never is)… but a tiny tiny percentage of me really did believe, hoped, wished, was desperately craving for something good to be waiting when I opened Mozilla Thunderbird and Gmail this morning. The sensible part of my brain was saying “This is just ridiculous! Dreams are nonsense!” and yet I didn’t want to extinguish this tiny flicker of hope that there was something in it. Who knows…

So I had this bizarre train of thought. The longer I didn’t inspect the inbox, the longer I could hold onto this vague hope that something good might be in it. Yes, my friends, there was some sort of quantum logic operating here. If I didn’t check my mail, I wouldn’t know whether there was good or bad news in it. Or even no news. Some might even say that all of the above apply until it is inspected, thus forcing it to settle.

Don’t expect me to understand that, or even if I got it right. Probably not. I only have a useless degree in political science after all.

So I waited. Just a little longer. I hadn’t checked my e-mail since 4pm last night. It was better that way. Nothing good ever appears anyway, so the longer it’s left the more chance that something might drop in there that I might actually want to read.

Of course, when I did look, there was nothing. Nothing at all. 16 hours and nothing interesting whatsoever.

Do you think I might be getting addicted to checking my e-mail? I think so. At least when the mail arrives, you know there’s not going to be anything else that day and you can relax. E-mail is an altogether different beast. A very scary one, replete with OCD scales and wings.

And so, another tedious day must begin.

The Mother of Invention

… is necessity, so they say, and it seems to be true. Because my necessity at the moment is driven out of extreme boredom. So my brain has actually come up with a few schemes to pass the time.

The first of which is a rather good idea I’ve had relating to the work I do involved in youth football. Not that anyone reads this blog to steal the idea, but I’d still rather keep it under wraps. Suffice it to say that I’ve wasted several of the past few days installing CMS systems on some web space I’ve got to try them out. I think I’ve finally found the one I wanted.

It’s also been a bit of an education. I’m not a good web designer, but I’m pretty decent at HTML/CSS (and standards compliant too, bloody Internet Explorer). I can’t do anything too fancy as I’m not that good, but I’ll give most things a bash. But now I’ve realised that with CMSs, the days of getting too deeply involved in writing HTML markup are almost over. The joy of templates and easy administration systems makes it all a breeze, and you can get on making the site look the way you want, rather than worrying over tiresome HTML/CSS semantics, and wondering why it looks so shit on IE.

Of course, I’m a late arrival to this bandwagon. I’m sure CMS has been going on for a long time, so in that respect it’s good to finally catchup, probably just at the moment the bandwagon is moving on anyway. I’ll bet I’m still out of date. But then I always will be as I just can’t cope with programming like PHP or databases like MySQL.

At the moment though it does feel like time wasting as, for the site to work, I need writers/bloggers. I’m sure they’re out there, and I’ve got some ideas to find them. But even if nothing comes from it, it’s kept me entertained and gave me some new experiences.

The other idea (yes, just two) I’ve had is more financial and is related to a website I read daily. They run an annual competition, and I’m thinking it needs to step up a gear. I’m going to drop the organiser an e-mail and see if he’s considered my idea before. For all I know he has and it’s not practical, but hey, I like sticking my oar in where it’s not wanted on the internet. In Real Life, I doubt I’d be so bold. That’s the joy of having a different “personality” in cyberspace.

I’ve also been getting up half an hour earlier. It seems I have more time to do the things I want during the morning, so it makes more sense to tack it on here rather than at night where I don’t do anything anyway.

Oh, and on Wednesday I finally got round to giving blood. Well, it did help that they just down the road. Eight times now. How… exciting… but it was definitely the easiest donation I’ve ever done. I got there for 2pm and was out by 2:30pm. That’s including the 5-10 minute sit around at the end eating the amazingly good biscuits they have, and always wishing I could buy them in shops but can’t. My three-monthly craving for “Oat Crunch” is now satisfied.

And now, I require food. $DEITY bless whoever invented cereal. They must really have been in a fix.

The Thrashing

And so the football season resumes. No, not the football everyone knows about, but real football.

I am, of course, talking about my football team. The one that I help run. It was supposed to kick off last week, but the terrible weather meant a week’s delay. No matter, because yesterday it was actually decent conditions to play in, if a little foggy.

We did, naturally, get beat. To most football supporters, a scoreline of 5-0 would be construed as a thrashing. Not to us. That is a reasonably respectable result. In grassroots football, the tempo is so furious at times that you can just concede goal after goal extremely easily. I’m sure I’ve mentioned this before. I like making excuses.

But no matter it’s still great fun. Yes, the players get a bit demoralised, but we have come to expect it now that keeping the scoreline respectable is counted as a good result. Who cares about league tables, we say on a regular basis.

The annoying thing is that we’re so close to actually being an OK side. For times of the game yesterday, we looked decent. It was going to be just 2-0 at half time, until a frantic two minutes before half time led to two more goals going in. 2-0 would have been manageable, and frustrating for the opposition, but 4-0 is disappointing.

Then in the second half we played a full thirty minutes without conceding again. We had chances to score, many of them, but wasted each one. Only in the last minute did we concede. Football is brutal if you switch off for just a second. It requires immense concentration. Any lapse and you’re doomed. That is something I really didn’t understand till I started watching football at this level. It’s really helped me appreciate the game more, and how intricate it really is.

But it is more than that. The fact that I’m now back in my Sunday morning routines means that’s it’s like the return of an old friend. We’ve spent all summer not knowing what to do with our Sundays. In fact, I spent most of them baking Irish soda bread just to pass the time.

It’s nice to feel a sense of belonging. There’s so much stuff I do for this team but it goes unnoticed. I don’t mind much, as it gives me something to do. And even more so these days while I’m unemployed.

It’s also made me think about getting back into refereeing. But I’m just not fit enough. I need to be able to keep running around for 90 minutes. That’s not easy for someone who is not used to do that much exercise. It would also provide me with much needed cash at these desperate times.

But now reality must resume. Ironing, shaving, shower… boring. I wish I could just do all that when I first get up in the morning, but I can’t, because we have one bathroom, and if I were to do that I would cause a riot, as it would hog the bathroom at the moment everyone else in the house needs it. Instead, I have to wait for everyone to leave.

And that’s now happened. Off we go…


In recent weeks it’s become very obvious to me that, as the job hunt continues to falter, I have taken on a new role in this household. My parents are out at work, my brother and sister are in school, and now even my other brother has a job and will be starting university shortly.

That leaves me here all day most of the time. Sure, I do the odd thing to get me out the house. But mostly I’m here. I do the washing up, I clean the kitchen and the bathroom, and I do the clothes washing too. Oh, and vacuum the house. Each day I do a combination of those things, helping the house keep ticking over. If I don’t do it, then it will be left to my parents (my siblings are useless), and they hardly get enough time to do anything in this house anyway. And that’s because my brothers and sister are always wanting taken places, to friends houses, and so my parents constantly act as a taxi service.

I don’t ever remember being that demanding when I was their age. But that’s probably because I was a bore. I did very little as a child. Never went anywhere. Never did anything. No wonder I’m so socially inept. But because of that I really didn’t ask for much at all.

For my mum and dad they don’t seem to get any peace. If it’s not the people living here then it’s my sister, who is extremely demanding on their time. And then it’s the rest of the family, who aren’t particularly helpful when it comes to looking after my grandparents.

So for me, and to alleviate my guilt for sponging off them for such a long time, I feel like I am at least making a contribution to the house by helping them out here. I know they appreciate it.

It puts a new perspective on the day though when you’re around here all the time. When you’re in work, the day generally seems to drag. When you’re here, it flies by. It is already mid morning. It will soon be lunch time, and once that comes around it’s almost time for my brother and sister to come home. When I shared this observation with my mum the other day, she said “Welcome to my world”. My mum was a housewife for over 20 years, from my elder sister’s birth right the way through to when she got a job a few years ago.

It’s a weird position to be in. You don’t feel like you’re achieving anything. And in a way you’re not. It’s not changing the world. But it does help calm the atmosphere in here. Plus, it keeps me from feeling too useless. I know that if I wasn’t doing all I am there would certainly be a lot more pressure in the house.And it’s not fair anyway.

We’re all getting older now. In theory things should be easing up. If anything, it’s going in the opposite direction.

Lego Man Hair

Every time I cut my hair I feel like my hairline has receded just that little bit further. This happened again the other day, when I used the number four clippers this time… and though it doesn’t look as bad as it normally does at three, it is still fairly short.

But it had to go. My hair is a disaster area. When left, it becomes like a piece of a Lego man hair. It becomes one solid mass with no visible lines. And then starts to curl at the back and at the sideburns. It looks like you could “take it off and set it down”. In joke alert. Too long to describe.

So now things are a little more under control. But when I have less hair, I always feel colder. And that’s not helped by the fact that we seem to have segued seamlessly into winter from fake-summer.

This week, it’s been very quiet. I have looked at the availability of jobs, and now I have come to a new conclusion that it is not wise to apply for any more jobs in London. I’m clearly failing to attract any interest, perhaps because I’m jobless right now, but probably also because each job gets hundreds of applicants, and there’s just no way of getting noticed amongst the pile. In any case, I feel a little desperate now, applying for almost anything that might even be vaguely relevant. Surely things aren’t that bad?

And, if I did manage to get an interview, and didn’t get a job offer, I would then have forked out a large sum of money to get the train to something that was a waste of time. I don’t have that kind of money right now.

So maybe I would be better looking around here. If I instead apply for jobs based on the nine months experience I had working as a diary secretary to an MP, then surely I would have a fair chance of getting something along similar lines?

That is the backup plan now. There is still a primary plan in motion, but I’m still waiting on that one. It might never happen. If it doesn’t, then I’ll be a little upset with the friend of mine who effectively promised me the job if I ever needed it. Because, all of a sudden, I do need it. Gaps on a CV look terribly discouraging to a prospective employer…

Week by week the pressure gets more and more for me. There was me thinking that my CV looked pretty good. That I looked rather employable. Turns out not to be the case. Instead, I’m roped into the old chestnut of “to get experience, you need experience”.

Maybe the Lego man hair puts people off. But then again, having fashionably unfashionable hair is very popular these days. I ought to start cultivating it. It may become my new lucky talisman.

Hmm. Yes…

Summer Revisited

At this time of year, with the dawning of Autumn, I generally take a look back at what happened over the summer, and whether it was a worthwhile event.

From the perspective of the weather, I feel very confident in saying it was the worst summer I can ever remember. Rain, rain, god-damn rain, day after day. I just knew it. Those late spring days in May, scorching hot sunshine, while I toiled over a mountain of revision – that was the real summer. It turns out I was spot on in my prediction that:

I’m sure by June it will be raining every day again.

That’s exactly what happened. I would say that of the 13 weeks of summer, no more than two of them can be classed as good summer weather, i.e. sunny, warm and reasonably consistent (i.e. one good day follows another). What we actually had was a hell of a lot of rain in June, July and early August, interspersed with a randomly chucked in nice day, but one which always had the looming threat of showers. And then when it didn’t rain, it was muggy and overcast, meaning the second you tried to do anything physical like play sport, the sweat would start pouring off you.

Just isn’t good enough. I thought last summer was bad: a worse than average June, a very poor July and a mediocre August… but this one really did smash those low expectations.

The worst of all was that last night I stepped outside to go on a little trip to the shops, and it felt cold. Now, 8°C isn’t cold, I’ll admit it. But after months of temperatures above 15C, and very rarely below that at night due to the cloud cover, it suddenly dawned on me that it felt like winter was just around the corner.

And all of a sudden thoughts begin to turn to Christmas. Mark my words, it will soon be here.

The thing is, my miserable summer weather-wise was actually surpassed by everything else. This has been my worst summer since I can remember. I have done nothing all summer but look and apply for jobs. I have done nothing but dither, and in the end have ended up back at square one. I extricated myself from the teacher training plan, but have yet to come up with a viable alternative.

I am so stupid, because I should have decided this earlier. I have no regrets right now, even though in an alternative universe right now I am starting my placement in school and starting down the road to teaching. But it’s amazing just how quickly I’ve dropped everything. I used to read the education news almost relentlessly. Now I barely visit the websites. I still find it all interesting, but it seems that I was only interested because I had to be. With hindsight, that is a very bad sign.

But if I had made the decision to quit earlier, I would have saved myself a lot of hassle, and I could have put my summer to better use. Number one would have been to do the US summer camp thing all over again. I would have enjoyed that so much more (I still reminisce about how good it was), and it would have been a great opportunity, since I’ll never be able to do it again (unless I’m still jobless next summer!). But instead it was frittered away.

I. Did. Nothing. All Summer.

How embarrassing is that. Talk about throwing your life away.