Thursday, 24 May 2012


I have my first job interview tomorrow.

Well, it' snot my first ever job interviewer, but it is my first job interview since I decided to look for a new job.

It feels kinda weird to be honest.  Indeed, the whole thing feels a bit weird.  There's definitely an element in there somewhere of it feeling like I'm betraying my current company.

I dunno - I guess fundamentally it's a reflection of my character in that I'm quite a loyal person.  But there's also a feeling there that it's not like I'm about to lose my job and they've not necessarily specifically done anything wrong or bad to me so many of the traditional reasons for seeking a new job aren't present.

I'm not actually sure if I'm nervous about the interview or excited.

One thing I do remember is that the job I got when I was doing interviews at Uni was the one where I said to myself "odds on you're not going to get the job, so just relax and try to enjoy it."

This attitude has actually often proven to be a real winner for me.  If I manage to get myself into a state where I sort of don't care (I mean I do, but it's more like I've decided the thing has already gone badly so there's not point being worried about the outcome) then it actually turns out well.

The best example was my driving test where I basically set off without my seatbelt on.  Now you are actually allowed to remove your belt when manoeuvring so long as you put it straight on afterwards, but I don't generally need to and was at the end of the street before I realised I'd simply forgotten to put in one after getting in the car.

After that I assumed that I had basically failed and so I relaxed totally and just took it as a bit of additional driving practice and essentially a dry run for a second test.  But I actually passed.

I'm actually only taking the morning off tomorrow, but it's unlikely I'll be doing a blog as the afternoon will probably be quite busy.

It's the Monaco Grand Prix this weekend.

Monaco's probably the most famous Grand Prix there is and a few years back we went there to actually watch it.  The recent change in weather really reminded me of the trip, actually, as extraordinary heat was one of the hallmarks of the trip as the med was going through something of a heat wave.

While Monaco is super famous it's not usually the most exciting of races.  The problem of course is that there are no overtaking spots.  It's held on the streets of Monaco and so it's very narrow - dedicated race tracks are always a lot wider - which makes things difficult, but there are also no long straights (in fact there aren't really any straight bits at all) so the traditional overtaking opportunities don't tend to present themselves.

This isn't to say there aren't good races at Monaco.  Last year was a particularly good one as plenty happened.  There was even quite a bit of overtaking.  And other years can be interesting for various battles or incidents that shake things up.

Monaco is also seen as a particular challenge by the drivers as well.  As mentioned, there are no straights so they don't ever get a chance to relax and the narrow streets are surrounded by crash barriers so if you get it wrong then it's pretty final.

Of course this is the sort of thing that doesn't really show up well as a spectator at home.  When we were at the track it was great because you're really close and you get a much better feel for the whole experience.

One thing they did have in previous years was the in-car stuff on the red button and that really worked well for Monaco because you got a much better feel for how hard they work and how thrilling driving the circuit must be.  This has since been replaced with the driver tracker, which is okay but not as good.

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

the expendables

I'm not sure quite what to say about The Expendables.  It seemed sort of like a bigger budget version of the cheesy action films that seemed to saturate cinema in the 1980s.

I can't ever really say I was a huge fan of these.  I mean, I've watched quite a few of them and they were okay, but very few were every really memorable.

The big problem is they were just too cheesy.  The action, gun-play and fighting would be good but then between those bits you'd get hackneyed plots and terrible dialogue and the whole thing would be saturated with homoeroticism.

I think I've mentioned this before, but why is it homoeroticism when it's men being presented as sexy / beefcake?  Unless I'm getting the wrong end of the stick the implication is that it's only designed to appeal to gay men, rather than hetero women.  I dunno, it just seems all the terminology is rather male-centric.

Anyway, I think my problem here was that I was expecting the film to be somewhat more self-aware than it was.

It's odd - there seemed to be something of an attempt at it, but it didn't really work.  The most obvious example of a bit of self-awareness was in the character names.  So, for example, Jason Statham's character has the rather daft name of Lee Christmas and others are called Toll Road and Hale Ceaser.

The trouble is it's not clear if these are their real names or if they are names they've picked in order to not be identifiable or as aliases or similar.  They also don't make anything of it in the film proper.

Another problem I had was that the bad guys don't really make sense.  The idea seems to essentially be that a rogue (well, I think he was rogue) CIA agent is manipulating a tin-pot dictator for the usual sorts of reasons.  The trouble is there doesn't seem to be any sort of hard and fast decision as to whether the dictator in question is really just a puppet being forced to do stuff or he's actually a really evil person himself.

So we end up with some contradictory scenes where he's shown to be total bastard himself but then others where he's seen to be controlled and manipulated by the CIA guy.  So are we meant to feel sorry for him?  But he's an arsehole too.

It's like we've got an arsehole buffet, where perhaps we should have had two separate arsehole courses.

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

More exclamation points

So this week seems to be yet more confirmation of my British weather theory.

This theory is quite simple - it's that the weather in Britain comes with exclamation points.  By that I mean that we don't seem to get gradual seasonal shifts, we get weather that suddenly veers from one thing to the next.

So last week I was wearing my jumper at work because it was chilly and traipsing around in a coat because it was raining all the time.  And we're not talking good old British drizzling - we're talking cats and dogs stuff.  And when it wasn't raining it was cloudy or foggy or some such rubbish.

But then suddenly yesterday it was sunshine and blue skies all day with promises of more of the same and today its 25 degrees out.

It's weather with exclamation points - one minute you're swaddled under 10 layers of clothing, the next you're having to drag them around because you'd collapse from heat exhaustion if you kept them on.

Monday, 21 May 2012

both coming and going

I had a horribly busy / tiring weekend for some reason.

I've mentioned before the troubles that I was having meeting my footwear needs, though I'm not sure if I've mentioned that I've been wanting to get a new mattress as well.  Well I looked online and saw that the nearest millets was in Aldershot and they also have some big furniture type stores there as well, so I decided that I would try to knock everything on the head in one weekend.

The plan was I'd do my washing as usual first thing then head up to Aldershot for opening time, park at the furniture store, nip into town to get work shoes and walking shoes and then head back to get the mattress.  I'd then unload all of these before heading into Aldershot with the primary intention of posting some parcels I had to send but also in case the shoes were still outstanding.

I also needed to buy some bits from smiths and Tesco's so I could park up in Tesco's in Aldershot and then walk into town.  This walking would also help me tick my walking allocation box for the day too.

Good plan and it sort of worked - I got all of the things done, including the mattress, although there was one downside.  The out-of-town furniture places have gotten a company to manage the parking since I last went there (we're talking years since I last went) and one of the conditions they have is that you don't leave the site and of course I did, so they've charged me.

I've actually just been doing some searching and there are quite a few websites (including some YouTube clips from watchdog) saying these aren't really legally enforceable.

Anyway, having bought the mattress it was a hell of a struggle getting it home.  It's actually oddly deep (as in "high") and although it's surprisingly light it's rather inflexible.  I only drive a small car so I was fiddling about putting seats down and taking off headrests and all sorts to cram it in.

I did get it in eventually but it was a bit dodgy driving as it was difficult to get to the gear stick.  I remember thinking as I set off that it'd be a bit dodgy if the police saw me and of course on the drive back there was a police car that had pulled someone over (for speeding I guess)!

The reason for sending the parcels is I made a bit of a decision to get on and rip a bunch of anime DVDs and put them up for sale.  I had actually started doing this with my normal DVDs but got a bit side-tracked with the whole contracting work, but I got a couple of hefty credit card bills and it kinda spurred me into action to try and get the cash flowing again if I'm honest.

The other issue was that on Thursday night I had real trouble sleeping and Friday night I wasn't able to catch up, which meant that by Saturday afternoon I was absolutely shattered.  Sunday I felt so tired that I didn't go for any walk or anything - indeed I didn't actually leave the bedsit