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Posts Tagged: Life

Everyone goes crazy over such and such and such

Monday 25th January 2016

I’ve been blogging – on and (mainly) off, in one place or another – since about 2004. In fact this very blog was started in 2007, so coming up for 9 years now(!). Reading through some of the early scribbles (and please don’t take that as a cue to trawl the archives, they’re awful), I see posts about religion, ramblings about motorsport, many many entries about procrastination, and song lyrics shoehorned in as blog titles.

So it’s still very me; at a basic level those are all things that I’d probably write about now. Sure, now I’m procrastinating on chartership reports instead of exam revision and the lyrics are from songs released in the last decade rather than the 60s, but the basic concept is pretty similar.

It’s still me, but not quite the same.

Reading through those old posts is a brilliant – if actually quite horrifying – experience. Seeing my thoughts from way back when, the general theme is “shit, I wrote that?!”. Call it the arrogance of youth or whatever; reading them with older eyes I just realise how I sounded. It also brings back a flood of memories. Of what was going on in my life when I wrote the blog, what I was feeling, and generally what got under my skin. I’m glad to say that those things have changed, at least.

I’m in the back half of my 20s now. Whilst in broad brush strokes I’m the same as ever, reading back those old blogs makes me realise that I’m a very different person. In terms of how I think and how I approach life, I’m just different. More comfortable with who I am, probably; and because of that more confident, less eager to prove myself. I have no idea if that translates into how other people see me; a lot of the people I see most often now are people I didn’t know back when I wrote this regularly, so they have no baseline for comparison.

None of this is to say that I think I’ve grown up to be amazing. I’m comfortable with who I am, but I acknowledge I can be a dick sometimes. The thing is that everyone is a dick sometimes; the trick is to ignore the people who act that way more often than not.

The odd thing is that I almost feel like I can pinpoint the time when I changed; a certain moment when a switch was flicked and I became comfortable with who I am. Which is almost certainly bullshit. People don’t work like that, we change gradually in response to many things.

I don’t apologise for not blogging. I try to write every now and then, get bored and then go do something more exciting. I won’t promise that I’ll try and write regularly or whatever because I can almost guarantee that won’t happen. Probably best to say that I’ll write whenever I feel I want to record something.

And on that note, I’m off to the pub. See ya in another year (or so)!

Posted In: RandomStuff Tagged: | 1 Comment

Of plans gone awry

Saturday 28th January 2012

About 18 months ago I graduated with a pretty good degree in Civil Engineering, from a pretty good university. In the last few months, I’ve also graduated from an MSc course in one particular part of Civils, again from a pretty good university. During the last year – and particularly the last few months since I finished my masters – I’ve been looking and applying for jobs within that industry. Had a few interviews too, but for whatever reason got nowhere. Lately, I’ve become bored of being skint, so I decided to look for a part-time job, something to do/earn money while I keep applying for “proper” jobs.

And, well, that’s sort of what I’ve done. I’ve taken what is essentially a part-time job, that I know will give me work for the majority of the year. But as part time jobs go, it’s a bit good…

I’m going to be working for a tyre company. Specifically, in the motorsport part of the company. Providing support to their customers in the World Endurance Championship. So basically, I’m going to go to a load of races, getting paid for it, and getting involved in engineering some of the cars that are taking part.

So I’ll be working at races at Sebring (Florida), Spa-Francorchamps (Belgium), Le Mans, Silverstone, Interlagos (Sao Paulo), Bahrain (or wherever they decide to reschedule it), Fuji (Japan) and somewhere in China. And I’ll also hopefully be involved in a bit of testing; I already know that I’ll be going to a tyre test in February, most likely at Monza.

So, my initial plan of “finish uni, get a civil engineering job” has sort of gone awry; I don’t know if this job will lead to any future work (although I get the impression that it possibly could), and of course I’m now not entirely available to start a “normal” office-based engineering job until about November, when the WEC season ends. But, well, I can’t say I’m really complaining…

I still find it slightly amazing that I had a few interviews for jobs that I should really be ideal for given my experience and my qualifications, and got nowhere. But somehow I’ve landed a job that’s completely different to what I’ve done before. Again, I can’t say I’m moaning; at least one of the companies I’ve interviewed for in the last 6 months is now in trouble. And, er, in this job I get to work in motorsport!

And that still hasn’t really sunk in. The way I keep looking at it is: I’ve wanted to go to the Le Mans 24 Hours for years. I’m going this year, and I’ll be in the pitlane for the race. I’ve been to spectate at the Silverstone 6 Hours for the last couple of years, this year I’ll be working there. It’s all a bit unreal really.

So that’s what I’m doing this year. I’m very excited.

Posted In: EngineeringMotorsport Tagged: | 2 Comments

Breathe

Monday 15th November 2010

Breathe, breathe in the air
Don’t be afraid to care
Leave but don’t leave me
Look around and choose your own ground
For long you live and high you fly
And smiles you’ll give and tears you’ll cry
And all your touch and all you see
Is all your life will ever be

This is one of my absolute favourite songs. It’s the first proper song from Dark Side of the Moon, and what a way to kick that album off! It starts with Speak To Me, which is essentially a heartbeat (actually a drum) which steadily gets louder, with loads of other sound effects and snippets and which is quite hard to explain. It all builds up until the start of Breathe. With that crisp bass riff, the sumptuous pedal steel guitar, the soft drum beat… It just washes over you, this lovely warm, laid back sound. And then a minute or so later the singing kicks in; David Gilmour softly singing, with this tone of… resignation almost, which is compelling but at the same time slightly contrasting with the feel of the music. It’s captivating.

I think it’s interesting how my music listening habits have changed over the years. In the past I used to listen to it all the time, but now not so much. For instance when I want to concentrate on something (like work, or when I’m reading), I generally find it trickier to do that now with music on. I sometimes get away with putting certain types of music on when I work, but generally that’s music that I’m not hugely keen on otherwise I’d start paying more attention to that! This is one of the reasons why I don’t listen to things like Pink Floyd all that much any more; it requires me to decide to stop and listen to music rather than just putting it on in the background.

Run rabbit run
Dig that hole, forget the sun
And when at last the work is down
Don’t sit down, it’s time to dig another one
For long you live and high you fly
But only if you ride the tide
And balanced on the biggest wave
You race towards an early grave

The second verse is more cynical than the first, perhaps even bitter. The ideas of work never stopping; racing towards an early grave. I suppose it’s an expression of dissatisfaction with the drudgery of everyday life, but still with that luscious, warm sound which envelopes you as you listen. And still with the tone of resignation in Gilmour’s voice.

The upshot, I suppose, is that I probably spend more time listening to music these days. I mean really listening, as opposed to merely having it on in the background. It’s great to go somewhere quiet with a decent pair of headphones, stick an album on and then lose myself in the music, although I don’t even do that all too frequently now. I generally listen for a short period between doing other things, because I don’t always have an hour or so to dedicate to listening to an album. And that’s something I never thought I’d do, actually. A few years ago I pretty much only listened to albums in their entirety, because it sort of puts music in context; listening to one song is almost like reading just one chapter of a book. I was probably a bit snobbish about it really, but now I’m less averse to just listening to the songs I want to listen to.

Home, home again
I like to be here when I can
When I come home cold and tired
It’s good to warm my bones beside the fire
Far away across the field
The tolling of the iron bell
Calls the faithful to their knees
To hear the softly spoken magic spells

And later, of course, the encore. It’s the same again. This comes just after Time, and we go from hearing about how “hanging on in quiet desperation is the English way”, to this. It’s almost like a temporary respite, a shelter from a harsh realities of life. And it really is temporary, because the encore only lasts a small amount of time before The Great Gig in the Sky, which is an absolutely perfect piece of music.

It’s nice how my tastes have diversified too. There’s a whole heap of stuff that I enjoy listening to now, much more so than a few years ago. And I absolutely love listening to music I haven’t heard before, especially when I discover a track or an album which sticks. I find that every now and again there’s a song which I get hopelessly addicted to and end up playing over and over again. Which means I associate those songs with times. For instance The High Road by Broken Bells brings back strong memories of writing my dissertation back in April, because I listened to it during my writing breaks.

But then, every now and again I return to music that I’ve known and loved for years. Things like Breathe, Tunnel of Love, Goodbye Stranger. And I remember that I’ve not listened to them for ages and why I really like them. And the familiarity is, in a way, comforting; like meeting up with an old friend. Tis a good thing.

Posted In: MusicSleep Tagged: | 2 Comments

Wedding, Water, Waffle

Tuesday 9th November 2010

I think I mentioned in the last post that I went to a friend’s wedding a couple of weeks ago. In some ways, I find it quite odd seeing people my age married/buying property/with kids (delete as appropriate). Obviously I don’t knock anyone who wants to do that, but for myself it all seems so young to be doing those things. In some ways I’m not even sure if I want to get married, in some ways it seems pretty old fashioned, rooted in religious tradition.

Hmm. I guess it makes sense in a symbolic way, committing to someone and whatnot. Although one thing I don’t get is having a big ceremony for it. To me, it seems like quite an intimate and personal thing. So it seems odd to do that in front of assembled family and friends. Oh, sure, the reception is a nice idea (any excuse for a pissup), but a big ceremony? Perhaps not.

Except earlier I did think of one possible reason for it. Because I’ve only just got round to changing my friend’s name on my phone (my friend was the bride), and as I did that I thought “yeah, this is going to confuse me every time I want to text her”… But then, will it? Because there was a big ceremony. So perhaps the ceremony is just a really elaborate way of reminding people that they’re married, so if you want to contact the bride you’ll have to look under a different letter in your contacts.

But then, why not just not get married, thereby avoiding the issue? Actually, I think it’s pretty anachronistic that the woman takes her husband’s surname. The whole thing is, really, unless you change the ceremony (see the previous post).

All this being said, I am (perpetually) single. Which perhaps makes it easier to be cynical about these things. Who knows?

I realise that I’ve not really done a general update on here for a while. Most of my posts have been about Things Which Annoy Me (read: politics/news) or F1. Generally because those are the things I’ve wanted to write about. I’ve also got a bunch of things in my drafts folder which I got half way through and then never finished. One in particular was a lengthy essay about sustainable construction, which I may polish off at some point because it’s actually pretty interesting. But then I would say that…

So yeah, update. I’ve graduated from Cardiff, and I’m now studying a postgraduate course at Birmingham. I’ve decided that I wanted to specialise in one particular part of Civil Engineering, and so the course is all about water. When I say that to most people they sort of look at me blankly, but it covers a hell of a lot. From flow in open channels (i.e. rivers), flooding, to water supply. Which is all quite interesting. At the moment I’m working on a coursework about the sustainability of the water supply in the UK, which is a fascinating topic. Most people seem to assume that because it rains all the time, we have plenty of water to drink. That’s not quite true, and water stress is a real problem. For a summary, see this diagram. Note that the areas with the lowest availability are also the areas with the highest demand (i.e. the South East). Apparently they’ve started to use desalination plants to supply water in some of those areas, which is just phenomenal. As well as expensive and energy-intensive; which in itself is in short supply…

As an aside, it’s interesting to note that since privatisation in the early 90s, the water industry has actually gotten much better. Better quality of water (admittedly, partly driven by EU directive), and crucially more efficiently extracted, treated and delivered (the improvement in leakage is particularly impressive). The regulation that exists to drive all this, though, is pretty mind-boggling. There’s apparently a push to introduce real competition between providers (currently water companies have a monopoly on certain areas; Dŵr Cymru supplies Wales, Severn Trent the Midlands, Thames Water in/around London, etc), and to introduce more of a market. Which is pretty interesting. Turns out that this privatisation/market lark isn’t in conflict with environmentalism. People being greedy (i.e. water companies wanting to make money) doesn’t necessarily equate with wrecking the environment…

Anyway, I digress. This post is probably a bit meandering, but I just felt like writing something really. I was going to say something about the upcoming F1 finale as well, but I think I’ll save that for another post. I’m massively looking forward to it, even though I have the horrible feeling that Red Bull will somehow manage to pass the drivers’ title to the Alonso. Which is really phenomenal given the car advantage they’ve enjoyed this year; they should’ve at least managed to exclude everyone else a while ago. Just goes to show that even if you have the best car, you’ve still got to drive it. Sort of puts Button’s performance in the Brawn last year – which only had an advantage for about 4 or 5 races – into context for those who say his championship is devalued because of the car advantage. Bullshit.

Posted In: EngineeringMotorsportProcrastinationStuff Tagged: | 2 Comments

When Your Money’s Gone And You’re Drunk As Hell – 2009 Part II

Friday 1st January 2010

Well I covered January to June in the previous post, so now I’m going to jump right into the second half of the year.

July
A continuation of the Garden State theme from June here… The soundtrack has 2 songs by The Shins, so I also Spotify’d their stuff. Wincing The Night Away is the only one of their albums on there (and it’s my favourite), and I think at some point I mentioned them to one of my housemates who promptly retrieved three of their albums from the wretched hive of scum and villainy that he lovingly refers to as his bedroom.

I said at the start of this entry that the music I mention would be stuff I listened to a lot or that I associate with certain memories, and this falls into both camps. Wincing the Night Away was pretty much constantly on in my car during July, because it was the perfect soundtrack to my summer. I remember driving with the windows open, enjoying the fresh air rushing into the car and singing along (really badly!) to the music as I drove. It seemed perfect to me for those summer evenings, when the air has that weird, charged, “summertime” feeling and it takes ages to get dark, and the sky at dusk looks stunning.

August
This was the month of V Festival, so theres quite a lot to mention. Obviously I saw a fair few bands and artists there – Oasis, The Killers, a bit of Athlete, Ocean Colour Scene, Bjorn Again (hahaha), Fatboy Slim, and so on. The standouts for me though were Lily Allen, Snow Patrol and – weirdly enough because I’m not actually a great fan of their music – Pendulum. Oddly enough though, the music that sticks in my memory for August is actually not someone I saw at V. There are two reasons this sticks in my mind; firstly that it’s a stunningly good album, and secondly because it reminds me of driving back to Cardiff after V. I stayed at home for a family meal before I left for Cardiff, so I don’t think I left home until about 11pm and it’s a 2 hour drive to Cardiff. I was incredibly weary and just wanted to get back, and I remember driving through the night whilst listening to this album. For some reason it was one of those really nice moments I get sometimes whilst driving. It wasn’t a particularly fun drive, but it was one of those moments of clarity where I find myself completely focussing on the moment and forgetting about anything else. I seem to readily associate music with driving. I suppose that makes sense; the music provides a soundtrack to the drive and when those two fit each other, it sticks in my memories.

Anyway, the album is For Emma, Forever Ago by Bon Iver. I actually first heard of Bon Iver from the Glastonbury coverage on the BBC earlier in the year and I listened quite a bit in July, but I didn’t listen to the album properly for a while. If you haven’t heard it, go on Spotify now and listen to it because it’s an absolute treat. In my opinion, For Emma and Skinny Love in particular are songs which are absolutely perfect in every way. Yum.

And I told you to be patient
And I told you to be fine
And I told you to be balanced
And I told you to be kind
And now all your love is wasted
And then who the hell was I?
And I’m breaking at the britches
And at the end of all your lines

September
Two choices this month. First, Radiohead. I’ve liked Radiohead for a while but I’d sort of forgotten about them, if that makes sense? I watched their set at Reading this year on iPlayer though and was blown away by how awesome they were. I ended up re-listening to OK Computer all the way through after that and I pretty much fell in love with it again. I travelled by train into Birmingham a few times to meet up with friends, and that album (as well as Kid A) kept me company as I travelled.

Second choice is Muse, mostly because thats when they released their new album. Which I thought was OK, but it also made me re-listen to some of their older work as well, and someone bought me a couple of their albums for my birthday. I vaguely remember ranting on Messenger about how good the earlier ones are to the person who bought them for me, whilst I was very drunk after a night drinking cider (which I don’t usually drink)…

October
At some point in October, one of my housemates recommended that I listen to the Stone Roses on Spotify. I did so and became slightly addicted. Actually I think we both were for a while, so it was funny coming out of my room listening to an album and hearing the same music coming out of his room…

This was the first month back at Uni since Spring 2008, so the memories are the typical student stuff. Lectures, work, socialising, sleep, lectures, work, socialising, sleep, lectures…. It stays like that until now really, so you can see why I’ve been so fed up of it. Pretty much all the people who took a year out to work feel the same, which I find fairly interesting. University is just boring!

November
We come to November and the first real mention of Formula 1! Jenson Button took the championship with a stunning drive at the Brazilian Grand Prix in the middle of October, and he was also on form at the first Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, on the first weekend in November. For the most part, the race wasn’t great. Hamilton looked imperious all weekend, but a problem with his brakes at the start of the race meant that, despite starting on pole, he didn’t manage to pull away in the manner that most people predicted. That meant that the race got more interesting for a while, because it was shaping up to be a good fight for the victory between him and Sebastian Vettel. Sadly, Lewis retired after his first stop (iirc) after his brake issues got worse. So mostly an average race, except for the last few laps. Webber and Button had a cracking battle for 2nd place – reminiscnant of the famous clash between Villeneuve and Arnoux at Dijon in 1979 – which made the last few laps of the 2009 F1 season pretty excing.

Anyway, BBC Sport ended their coverage with this montage of the season, which introduced me to Florence + The Machine. I listened to Lungs a fair bit after I heard that song on the F1 coverage, and I reckon it’s pretty good.

December
I think that I’ve partially covered this before, but there are a few extra things to add. Towards the start of the month, I discovered the latest Eels album, Hombre Lobo. I’ve liked Eels for a while, so I’m disappointed that it took me 6 months to listen to the latest album. Anyhow, it’s all pretty damn good, but I keep finding myself being drawn to the last 4 songs… The second thing is Mumford and Sons, and I listened  to their album a couple of weeks ago. One of my brothers needed to go to Cardiff for the day so I said I’d drive him down, which meant that I had a day down there with time to kill. I decided to look this album up on Spotify and I enjoyed it. I still enjoy it, although I realised the other day that the album is basically about religion, which sort of lets it down a bit in my book.

So there, some of the music I’ve listened to in 2009, and some of the memories that go along with that music. Mostly for my own entertainment, I’ve put together a Spotify playlist with some of the music mentioned here, but here’s the link for anyone who wants to listen.  With the exception of the last few months (because of Uni), 2009 has been pretty damn good. I’ve got 6 months of University to get through in 2010 and once it’s over I really have very little idea what I’m going to do with myself. I’m not sure where I’ll be or what I’ll be doing, which is both exciting and unnerving. A year of opportunity, hopefully.

Happy New Year :-)

Posted In: MusicStuff Tagged: | 2 Comments

In The Waiting Line – 2009 Part I

Thursday 31st December 2009

I thought I’d do a sort of “review of the year”, but I’ve decided to come at it from a slightly odd angle. I was bored the other night so started looking through my Last.fm profile, particularly the charts bit. It’s not completely accurate because there were periods when I didn’t have scrobbling set up properly and because obviously I don’t scrobble from the car or my mp3 player, but it still shows the trends from a good proportion of my listening, which I found quite interesting. The music I listen to sometimes reflects events or life at the time, so it’s quite a nice walk down memory lane in some respects. With that in mind, this is a review of the music I’ve listened to over the year, and why I’ve listened to it. It’s not necessarily all stuff that’s been released this year, just what I’ve listened to. I’ve tried to filter out some things, lke the bands that I listen to pretty much all the time anyway (Pink Floyd, Dire Straits, Bob Dylan etc), so it’s mostly the stuff that I’ve “discovered” or really gotten into during the past 12 months.

Also I’ve not written about music for a while, so it makes a nice change.

For each month, I’m gonna pick an artist which I “associate” with it. It might be because I listened to them a lot, or because I have certain memories from that time which are related to a song or something. I’ll also sum up some of the other things I listened to, and more than likely I’ll go off on tangents at regular intervals because, well, why the hell not? I shall also use Spotify links throughout (or YouTube links if the song isn’t on Spotify), for anyone who wants to listen to the songs I’m referring to.

January
First month in and already I’m going to break my rules by picking two bands!

I basically had most of January off, so I filled some of the time by playing games. One that I played a lot was Darwinia, and as I was playing that I used to put music on in the background. A band that I particularly liked putting on whilst doing that is múm, an icelandic group. Their earlier stuff is pretty electronicy and fit really well with Darwinia, but I also listened a lot to Go Go Smear the Poison Ivy, their (at the time) newest album, which has a very different feel.

Funny story. For those who don’t know me, I’m fairly lax about getting my hair cut. My hair is blonde and curly, so when I’ve left it for a few months it turns into the most ridiculous looking afro you’ve ever seen. Actually there’s more than a passing resemblance to Art Garfunkel, and a year or so ago I went to see him at the Symphony Hall in Birmingham (he was very good btw). I was sat near the front and my hair was a reasonable length at the time. Anyway, during an instrumental part of one of the songs, he looked pretty much directly at me and started grinning. I dunno if he thought I was taking the piss with my hair or something, trying to imitate him. I wasn’t, I’m just really lazy, but there ya go. Was quite a weird moment really…

Anyway, at the end of January I bought the Simon and Garfunkel box set, and got pretty into that. I’d heard Bridge Over Troubled Water before, because I bought that album a while back, but it was the first time I properly listened to their other albums and I enjoyed them very much, so that’s my second January association.

February,
February was my first month working on-site, so was pretty exciting if more than a little daunting. The really big adjustment was living away from home during the week, although I was lucky in that one of my colleagues was staying in the same hotel as me so I at least had someone interesting to talk to over dinner and beers (paid for by the company!). During that time I think I read a review of Spotify on The Register during one of my lunch breaks, so I installed it to kill some time and see what it was all about. I quickly became addicted and one of the first artists I looked up was Bob Dylan (quite a bias on the week I installed Spotify!). OK so I know I said I wouldn’t include stuff that I listen to anyway, and I know I that even mentioned Bob Dylan, but back in the day Spotify had all of his back catalogue on there. If you’re not familiar with Bob Dylan, firstly whyever not?! And secondly, he has a massive back catalogue and it’s all pretty varied in sound. Some is awesome and some is, well, awful. SoI took the opportunity to listen to some of the stuff that I’d not heard before and found some absolutely great music there. Two things stick out in my memory. The first is I’m Not There (the one the film is named after), which I think is fantastic. I love the way it’s understated and sort of builds up gently, and I think that some of the lyrics are stunning:

Yes she’s gone like the rainbow that was shining yesterday
But now she’s home beside me, and I’d like her here to stay
She’s a lone forsaken beauty and it’s ‘Don’t trust anyone’
I wish I was beside her, but I’m not there I’m gone

The second thing to stick out was the album World Gone Wrong. It’s a bunch of covers of folk standards (recorded, I think, in his garage…) and I think it’s a vastly underrated album. I particularly love the title song.

March
So this was always going to happen at some point in this thing; I can’t think of anything in particular to say about March. This isn’t helped by the fact that my Last.fm history is patchy because I wasnt scrobbling all the time, but also I suppose it was the time when I was getting settled into work, still learning the ropes but gaining confidence, and generally getting stuck into the weekly cycle. Looking at Last.fm, there’s the occasional unusual thing but really nothing sticks in my mind as such, so I shall move swiftly on.

April
My choice for April is easy, although it’s a band that I first heard back in 2008: Death Cab for Cutie. Someone recommended them to me back then and I thought that they were OK, not bad but also not exactly brilliant. With the exception of I Will Possess Your Heart (I actually like the long intro), nothing really grabbed me that much. At some point I must’ve looked them up on Spotify (probably to listen to that song) and ended up listening to more and really enjoying it. I remember after what must’ve been a pretty tired day, lying on the bed in my hotel room listening to Narrow Stairs.  I remember the first few songs, then the next thing I knew I was listening to the album credits which are on Spotify for that album. Made me late for dinner! Anyway, I bought a couple of albums shortly after and I think I played them fairly regularly in the car through most of April, so there we go.

May
Yet another Spotify find! I’m a big fan of old blues and country recordings, and I was searching for a particular song, I Got Mine by Frank Stokes. I really like this song and there are lots of versions on Spotify, so I (accidentally, I think) listened to the version by Mississippi John Hurt, and instantly fell in love with it. This was whilst I was sat in a hotel room with plenty of time to kill, so I listened to some of his other music and really liked that too. It was May, the weather was starting to get better, it was coming towards the end of my time on a particular site. I have a really nice memory of chilling out listening to this music, killing time before going for another agreeable (and free) meal with a couple of pints with the other guy from work who stayed in the hotel, and of all being right with the world.

June
At the start of June, I saw Garden State for the first time. Actually I heard the soundtrack before I saw the film because one of my brothers put it on in the car on the way to Cardiff. This was during my “between-site” stage when I spent 2 weeks mostly working in Birmingham, but I went down to site in Cardiff for 2 days to do some preliminary setting-out. I remember the first day being boiling hot and the second day I sneezed a lot because they’d cut the grass at some point, which had the bonus effect of erasing a lot of the line marker I’d put down the day before. Someone really should’ve told the groundkeepers not to do that area, because a couple of weeks later we cut the grass rather more drastically by excavating it all. Nevermind eh? Anyway, the soundtrack to Garden State is very good and one of the songs on it is In The Waiting Line by Zero 7, which I became slightly addicted to. When I listened to some of their albums on Spotify I became even more addicted, before I finally bought a couple. I remember being bored rigid in the office in Birmingham, listening to that song over YouTube on my phone, whilst watching the text commentary on Friday practice for the British Grand Prix from the BBC website.

So, thats the first half of the year. Those first few months onsite seemed to last forever, but really it was only about four-and-a-bit months that I was there. I was always meant to be going somewhere else “soon”, so I guess the fact that I was constantly waiting for that exaggerated that feeling. I suppose looking back at this, I get the impression of being stuck into the grind, the same cycle over and over again. And I guess that was true (although certainly less so than at university!). But I did enjoy it and I learned a lot, which set me up nicely for the rest of the year…

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I’m Not There

Saturday 21st February 2009

As ever, I’ve been meaning to write something here for a while. But, I started work again a few weeks ago. Which is enough reason on it’s own for the gap, but because of a snafu of some sort with the site I was gonna work on in Cardiff, I’m working at Brize Norton. Staying in a hotel nearby during the week, then driving back home for weekends. So fairly busy, and fairly tiring…

Work’s very good. I’ve mostly been helping the engineer with surveying, which is good. Fairly pleasant too when the weather’s as mild as it has been the last few days. I’ve been trying to work out whether I prefer consultancy or contracting. To start with I was leaning towards consultancy, but I’m enoying work more and more now, so I think I’m starting to lean the other way. Which is good, because apart from anything else it’s much easier for me to stick where I am (providing they offer to sponsor me after my placement year).

So basically, life’s good :)

In other news, I downloaded the Spotify beta last week. Holy crap, it’s good. Apart from not having a few artists (Pink Floyd, The Beatles, Led Zep), it’s very comprehensive. The sound quality is pretty good, and the streaming is really quick. The only niggle I have with it is that it’s easy enough to find something if you know what artist/album/song you want to listen to, but if you just want to browse and see what takes your fancy, there’s no way to do that. Thats not a dealbreaker though, and I’m really considering paying the subscription. I’m gonna see if I keep using it as my main music player first though.

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