Monday, 12 December 2011

Time

Once again there has been a considerable amount of time between posts on my blog. This can only mean one thing - I've been busy!

Doing what? 

I have resumed a packed lifestyle working in Manchester and spending 2hrs+ per day on buses. I love (and will miss) having that all important sense of purpose, a reason to get up in the morning. At uni I could sleep in til 10.30am and think I had done well to get up earlier than fellow house mates. Now, I can hardly make it to 9am. This is mainly due to the fact that (depending on where I am) I have to get a bus anywhere between 7.30am and 8.40. If I have spent the night at Toms', it generally means a bit of a slog on the Barton Stretch and we have to allow for that. From my house it's a bit easier. 

I still work at Tesco on the weekends. Fortnightly I do both days. This means a stretch of 13 days between one day off and the next. At first it was tough but I'm getting used to it. We try to make sure that we do something on that one day. We went to Botany Bay for the first time in years, since I was young enough to spend time in Puddletown Pirates, and enjoyed a 'mooch'. I love this activity. Set out in a similar style to Afflecks Palace, there are lots of separate shops full of bits and pieces to browse through and they are spread across quite a few floors!

We have also traveled to Blackburn - visiting Toms' Nan and wandering round the town with his 2 year old niece. I enjoy going to new places and just taking in fresh sights. Most shopping centre's house the same high street names but there's always something which sets them apart. Two weeks ago, at Golden Square in Warrington, there was a festive fair. It consisted of an enclosed marquee with lots of stalls. I found a brooch which encompassed three of my favourite components - a Silver Owl with Purple flecks.

I think I may have traits of a magpie.

Reed is flying by. Saturday night was the Christmas do. It really sprang out of nowhere. Like many events it was weeks away, then it was the following day.. I met Alice and Briony in Kro bar, I had a relatively nice surprise in there - I took a fiver to the bar thinking I may need to delve deeper into my purse but I came away with a bit of change. Oh, and an archers with lemonade. I always seem to stick with the safe option.

Not one for sitting round a table doing nothing, I decided to stick my neck out a bit. The intern from HR was sitting opposite me and we were comparing head gear (Alice bands with extended bobbly bits on the end) I joined her and found myself encouraging us to dance!

She introduced me to Amaretto and Coke and we wandered between our colleagues having a laugh. For some reason, Mark decided to challenge myself and the other intern to dance on a table. So determined was he that I would not do it, I decided to humor him. Albeit for one moment, I was up on the table, my mission was simply to surprise.

All in all it was a good night!

I got in a taxi with Briony to her flat, the plan was to catch the bus round the corner except, almost two hours after I left the party, I was still waiting at the stop. I stood with my hands buried in my pockets, only one layer beneath the winter jacket which still allowed biting wind to rub shoulders with me.

I saw one '67 go past to begin with and joked that I could have gotten on it to see Tom. An hour and a half later - no 39's - another '67. I felt terrible but I had to phone Tom at gone 2am to ask permission to divert to Cadishead.

In bed that night I shivered more than I ever have before and I don't think it helped my cold particularly but at the same time, I don't feel that it made it any worse. Hopefully I'll see the back of it in the next few days.

Events will take me back to Cadishead via the Trafford Centre on Wednesday and to a birthday celebration in town on Saturday night. So far, Sunday is undecided but I'm off work so it's all good!

Sunday, 16 October 2011

I'm no technophobic!

I can't be. Why? Because if I was, my Dad wouldn't have been able to update his iPhone. I am presently completing this task.

I have grown used to being introduced to new software and technology. We have to pick it up fast, before paper and ink go out of fashion. Some people even complain that they have become more accustomed to typing than writing.

It was a bit of a phase to send 'e-cards' a few years ago, now we get a funky pigeon to typeset birthday cards for us. So far, I have only received one card such as this, it scared me a little to open the envelope to be confronted by my own face. I still have the card.

Despite the influx of electronics, I discovered yesterday that traditional methods aren't quite dead. I will soon be the proud owner of a stitched picture, courtesy of Adele. She injected a little of her job at a craft shop to personalise a gift for me.

My own job prospects are changing at the moment. I have left Knives Forks and Spoons in pursuit of a new venture. It spouted from being encouraged by Alec to read 'Put Your Mindset To Work'. It's written by James Reed.The book introduced the concept of a mindset in a three dimensional way. It splits the mind into categories. Global Good and Grit. It helps you to assess the type of person/worker you are and helps you to improve in weak areas.

I used bits of what I learnt to help me write my CV. I signed up to Reed Recruitment job alerts and responded to their call for an intern. I was contacted by Charlene who had picked out my CV and forwarded it to the King St office in Manchester.

I recently got a new contract phone from work. This meant changing my number so that Mum could keep my old Sony Ericsson. This was the number which Reed had on my CV. They contacted me via that phone which lay dead in Mum's handbag on a day we chose to travel by bus to Manchester. Ironically, I was standing on King Street when they phoned.

Reed were interested in me! I was given an interview slot and found my way to the office within the week. It was my first interview situation since Tesco in 2006. I was nervous but able to communicate well as they sounded me out.

In 'Put Your Mindset To Work' they encourage you to take an online psychometric test. It gives you a very precise analysis of your character based on your combination of answers. I took this test when I read the book purely out of interest. Reed emailed me, on the day following my interview, to ask for the test results. I was given the option to take a fresh go at the test or, because I had previously logged in, send my existing profile. I chose to send the original test because I felt that, although I may not realise it, I could bias the results without intending to. This seemed to work.

Charlene called on Monday to give me the internship. It starts tomorrow!

In other news, it's my birthday this week. I held a party at my house last night which was deemed a college reunion =]. Between 15-20 friends came. This included Hayley and also Stef! Stef and I worked out that we hadn't seen each other in nearly a year. It was great to catch up with so many people in one night!

This week:

Internship starts
I turn 22
Tom and I go to see Peter Kay in Manchester.

It's looking like fun!

Sunday, 28 August 2011

I may not have posted a blog for a while, but I certainly haven't been out of touch with the internet. In fact, I probably spend a little too much time checking my emails. There is a good reason for this though. I have sent numerous emails to try and get some work experience after Knives Forks and Spoons.

I spent last week in charge. Alec deservedly felt that he was in need of a holiday. It's not as though he left the country, or even the house, but he did leave the garage. I tended to emails, typeset a few chapbooks and helped Michael Wilson. He came to take the poems he had written and place them on some constellations which Alec had edited to look like a compass. I soon got the hang of placing individual words on each point. We made two in the two days Michael spent with us and, I have to say, they look pretty good. We plan on having our friends at United Christian Marketing helping us to produce them.

I have spent a great deal of time emailing different PR companies for work experience. This is proving tough. I was getting little to no response from almost everyone. This was until I decided to chase up two companies which I would love to work with. One encouraged me to continue and I received a follow-up email asking for my CV for future reference, the other assured me that my details would be circulated to the right people if an opportunity was to arise.

I'm learning to put myself out there. It was suggested that perhaps I didn't have enough experience to take on a proper role. I took the opportunity to point out that nobody will have experience if it is unobtainable. I felt as though I may have overstepped the mark a bit, but it generated more of a positive outcome than I expected. After all, I stuck my neck out to ask Alec for advice and we know what happened there.

In other news, my room is receiving a much needed make-over. I worked out that it hadn't been done for seven years. The wallpaper was getting tatty with blu-tac marks, posters covering rips and my ceiling was starting to peel. I would even say it started to feel unclean, no matter how much we mopped and dusted. Time for a change.

I took the initiative to remove all my posters and asked Dad to fetch the steam stripper from the attic. Previously, he had been reluctant to do my bedroom. I wanted all the paper stripping right back to get rid of the rips and it seemed like a big job. However, within ten minutes, he was beside me scraping away at the main wall. I don't actually have a huge amount of wall space, due to fitted furniture, doors to the central heating cupboard and a large window. It still took us six hours to completely strip everything down. I was surprised to uncover a striking yellow wall, it looked as though someone had coloured it with a highlighter!

I picked out some paper for the main wall. It seemed as though I could have flowers, stripes or just plain colour. I struggled to find something which seemed to incorporate me.  


I found this paper online at O'Neills. It is covertly flowery. I didn't realise, until I saw it in the shop, that the silver is embossed and there are elements of glitter on the leaves. You certainly can't tell that there are droplets of silver on the background which glint in the light. Originally, we purchased the purple version to try and maintain my current bedding and curtains but they seemed mismatched, feature wall is back to blue!

I love it =] 

A few weeks ago, we made our first trip back to Manchester on a night out. It was a belated, rescheduled Graduation celebration. It was almost cancelled again. The riots in Manchester, London and elsewhere in the UK drew the cities to a standstill. The public had to regroup and work together to bring their hometowns back up to scratch. This threatened a meeting with Hayley and Abi in the city as well as the night out on the following day. Luckily, they only lasted one night in Manchester. It took a bit of convincing to reinstate the day out. Hayley was reluctant at first but it seemed as though danger had passed. 

On the day, the city was bustling as usual. There were a few boarded up windows with 'Open as Usual' scrawled across them. Abi, Hayley and I met in the Print Works in Old Orleans. I can't say I'd ever been in there before. We bought a sharing starter which was a little pricey and non-alcoholic cocktails. I discovered a liking for BBQ ribs whilst we caught up together. We spent the rest of the day wandering the shops on Market Street and the Arndale. Abi lead us to our customary hot chocolates in Waterstones and I introduced them to Pulp, where Abi bought a Newbreed t-shirt and signed up for a points card on her first visit! Mission accomplished. We also went into Afflecks Palace where Hayley bought some coloured hair pieces. We sat on Piccadilly Gardens so that Abi could put the pieces in for her. Moon Under The Water was where we met Tom and had tea. We turned to pitchers and shared two between us all, it was a great way to end the day. 

The following night began where the previous had left off... After work, I traveled back to town with Andy and Adele. Moon was only slightly quieter than usual and Venue lived up to our expectations. However, I am well out of practice! I was so tired! We are definitely going to have to maintain these nights out to make sure that we can keep staying out til gone 4. 

There isn't much opportunity to get out during the week. However, Tom had two consecutive Thursdays off. We spent them mooching back in Manchester and in Bolton. The latter was cut short a little when I (or my Tesco discount card) was required back in Walkden so that Alex could purchase a laptop for Uni. From the electronics desk we stepped over to the phone shop so that I could enter into a contract with a Samsung Galaxy S II. Good day. 

I can now check my emails even more often than I did before... I can send more than I have already... New week starts tomorrow and I'll be at it again!         

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Graduation

Since writing my last blog, I have basically been doing my work experience, taking spontaneous trips to the Trafford Centre and, oh, just attending this thing they call Graduation.

I spent five hours traipsing round the shopping mall with mum to find a graduation/interview outfit. The previous night was devoted to a jaunt to the same place but with Rachel and Damon. I was invited for a 'ride' and the destination was unknown. We decided that, since our random drive seemed to be heading in the direction of Barton Bridge, we would go to Asda for nibbles and chat.

After battling with a self service machine and some reduced 'sugar' doughnuts, we wound up being given them for free and we took them to the doors near Debenhams. I was telling Rachel about my lack of smart clothes so we went on a hunt together. I felt a little mean on Damon but it turned out that he is quite a Gok Wan! Rachel challenged him to find me an outfit (just to occupy him whilst we browsed) and he came up trumps with a purple top which was really rather nice. Or am I just easy to please?

The following day, I went to placement and straight back to the Trafford Centre from Eccles. I bought a teal and turquoise top with button detail and a cowl neck in Debenhams. That was the easy bit. I thought it would be pretty easy to find some smart black pants but Topshop, Marks and Spencers and Next proved the opposite. Size 12 for some bizarre reason was too small but size 14's were huge =S. I think it had something to do with the wrap-around style fastenings restricting material. I chanced Monsoon with their  sale (which they need in there to make anything affordable!) and was amazed to find the right colour and size but not the length. However, when they started at £65 and went down to £25 it made shortening them a little sweeter.

Met Sarah and Rachel in town on Friday although I'm quite proud that I actually managed it. I fumbled for my phone to send the obligatory text 'on bus' and found it nowhere. I routinely searched my bag three times over. It was too late to get off so I waited til we reached Piccadilly, had a scuffle with a payphone and wandered towards Market Street. I checked HMV but no sign so I continued to Deansgate and decided that I would just have to wait at the pub alone til one of them found me. Crossing opposite Tesco Express I was amazed to spot the other Sarah on the way home from work. I knew she'd have Rachel's number but when I managed to catch her up, she told me her phone was dead. Only a minute later, Rachel emerged at the crossing next to the Ramada Hotel and I was saved. During our meal, we discussed a girls night which could yet take place in any number of places including Canal Street or Venue.

Watched Harry Potter on Saturday night at the Trafford Centre (been there too much!). It was really good, I made less book-film comparisons this time because I haven't read The Deathly Hallows since it first came out and couldn't remember much. All I know is that I could never be brave enough to jump on the back on a raving dragon!

We watched the film in 3D mainly because the 2D showings were full. 3D doesn't do a huge amount for me. I was ready to be disappointed when the adverts came on. We were sat to the far left of the theatre and, simultaneously, Mum, Tom and I were rubbing our glasses to see if the fuzzy effect on screen was due to the glasses we brought from home. At the same time, both sides of the cinema were on their feet to try and move to the front central rows. We did the same. Even then, it was still fuzzy and I heard a lady call out something about 'new glasses' but we think it was more of a technical fault because the images suddenly lined up properly.

Yesterday saw my parents and I take our last trip to Edge Hill University for a while. On the way, the clouds were looming and darkening, I asked very nicely for a ray of sun but not much came of it. I contacted both Hayley and Paul who said they were already robed up and waiting for me! We parked behind Eleanor Rathbone (my first year residence) and I caught a glimpse of my old window. My hall was at the back of campus and we had to make our way to performing arts at the front. EHU campus is luckily quite small and it doesn't take long! I met Paul, who looked very smart in his robes and he directed me to the room where I collected my own robes. A lady in the next room dressed them over me. She pinned my (extra small!) cap with clips and it felt pretty sturdy!

When I came back to Paul and our parents, the cameras were out and we posed together and with our mums and dads. I don't think I've ever had my photo taken so many times in one day. Getting up early for a hair cut was definitely worth it.

Our next stop was the Faculty of Education to register for our ceremony. This is where I fleetingly saw Hayley for the first time. I queued with Dan and Paul whilst discussing how much we felt like Harry Potter in our cloaks. We decided the next thing to do was get our professional photos done. I faffed with my hood because it had nothing to hang on to. I'd forgotten that we should have been wearing a buttoned top to secure our hoods. A lady gave me a safety pin and another got all irate about the pins they used to sort the robes showing up on photos. I removed them (even though we couldn't see them!) and my robes fell sideways. The photographer spent five minutes messing with my hat, which made it insecure, and even re-positioned my fingers on the plastic tube with the red ribbon which was supposed to resemble my degree.

To be fair, we had to move around the campus quite a bit but I didn't feel as though I waited very long for anything in particular except perhaps the ceremony itself. We had our seat numbers on the tickets we collected. I had Paul sat directly behind me and Jenny two seats down. Genna couldn't wait to get on the carpet just to make sure she didn't fall on her stiletto heels! We were sat in green lecture seats which are normally partitioned off and faced our parents. We got up in rows and queued down the stairs. When it was the turn of the person in front, they moved to the edge of the red carpet and waited for her degree title to be read out before proceeding towards the Dean and shaking his hand. We were sat in groups depending on our degree tile and I was the first alphabetically to receive a BA (Hons) in Creative Writing with English. This meant that I had my title read before my name. Nobody had their specific classification voiced but I knew some from Facebook! People who followed me in the group simply heard their names. We had to file down the line of tutors and round the back to approach our seats from the opposite side.

It seemed to take a while to get through 3 or 4 pages of names and the entire Faculty of Arts and Sciences but it was worth it in the end. We left the lecture theatre with tutors dressed in robes flanking us and clapping. All that was left to do was have more photos taken. We grouped into our course friends and smiled whilst traditionally throwing our caps. We performed in this manner at different places on the campus but mostly near the lake and outside of Health. My cap almost fell in a bin when I threw it near the LINC and Sarah's landed in a tree!

Not long after, people began to depart and we were hugging people we hoped to know for a long time as well as people it's probable that we won't see again. It's a strange sensation. I decided to end my day where it all began. Hayley and I ambled over to Eleanor Rathbone and posed outside the hall. We had to return our robes to Performing Arts. On the company website, it stated that we could buy our hats for £5, but we were told that it no longer applied - everyone bought theirs last year which left the company short of stock! Shame. We have lots of photos to remember the day by though!

On the way home, we had our tea at a pub in Haydock. I had a tuna steak with boiled potatoes as recommended by Mum. I was very impressed with the ample amount of tartar sauce, along with the tuna obviously....

When I got home, I loaded my graduation photos to Facebook as some people already had. I received a card and graduation figurine from Mum and Dad and a card from Barbara. Tom arrived soon after and he ushered me to get changed for Del's 22nd at 42's!

We met everyone at Moon for a couple of drinks so that Samantha and Amy could stay with us until their last bus. Amy was explaining the car crash she was in the night before, I was obviously concerned but tried not to get too involved with the story when it came to compensation. It's a touchy subject and can be drastically abused as a system.

We headed towards 42's in the rain and you would never know i'd paid £20 for a haircut by the time we got there! Even so, we danced, drank (only a little) and took more photos to add to the album of the day. I'm looking forward to seeing them on the internet in the next few days...!

In other news... Holiday, Friday!

See you in a week(ish)!

Monday, 4 July 2011

Return of The Mac (to 5th Avenue!)

Having only dealt with Apple Mac computers for a short while in high school, when they were multicoloured and that was all that mattered to me, it has been fun using one for knives forks and spoons press. We use iWorks to typeset our chapbooks and perfect bounds. I am getting the hang of it considering that I have used Windows exclusively since about 1999.

I am capable of producing both types of publications and now I'm heading into the PR side of things! This is the kind of work I truly anticipated to benefit my sought after career path. I maintain the website, by adding new releases and I am involved in the pull-marketing strategy, which entails using Facebook, Twitter and a Blog to promote KF&S products. I have also been involved in sourcing leads at institutions to make bulk sales to libraries in America, the United Kingdom and Belgium.

A medium which I think may benefit the Press comes in the recorded format. I like the idea of having electronic copies of the chapbooks available which you could either read as a PDF on iBooks for example, or hear as an audiobook bought from the likes of iTunes or Amazon. It could be a new avenue which poets can choose to submit readings of their works in the attachment of the email which also holds their written submissions. I have seen software which comes equipped with these possibilities but the obvious drawback for smaller businesses is the cost of it.

For my final poetry coursework, I submitted poetry on CDs which had the poems written on the discs themselves as well as recorded. To make my recordings, I simply read into my iPod microphone and emailed the clips to myself to burn to disk. It could be as simple as that. We'll see.

I am also in the process of searching out jobs and considering where else I can undertake voluntary work in the meantime. I hope to lead myself in the direction I need. I have two companies in mind who I would like to contact after doing some research on both. This will probably be my task for the dinner breaks of the next few days.

On a more social note, I have had a pretty busy weekend. On Saturday, I was informally interviewed for a potential store move with work. My ex manager met me and we chatted about hours almost immediately because he has worked with me previously on the department I requested. I doubt that the move would be worth it because they are working on the basis of shorter shifts over more days and I would rather work full days.

My shift started after the talk. It was running as normal until 4pm, when we got a little short staffed, i.e. just me. Luckily, next week I will have a co-worker until 7pm again as I just managed to get everything clean and packed up in time. An hour later, I was getting ready to go out again.

We planned a night out to Manchester over the week. I had decided that it had been too long since everyone went out together and chose our old stomping ground - 5th Avenue. Aside from a 50% increase on cloakroom charges, the prices were still in student regions. A new bar has been installed next to the cloakroom which brings the total to 3, a sound example of money going to good use - less queuing time. The clientele may have altered a little due to the closure of two clubs elsewhere in the city, but I was still ecstatic when I heard the opening bars of Green Days' 'American Idiot' and such like! The end came a little too quickly for me!

Sunday morning and I was extremely tired. Still, we found ourselves visiting Toms' grandparents and on to the Barton Aerodrome. There was an Aviation family fun day where we picnicked next to the airfield and watched the planes landing metres in front of us. This was accompanied by a fairground, air balloon rides, archery, a car boot sale and birds of prey. I am a lover and owls and took the opportunity to have my picture taken with one. I have yet to see the photograph because the battery on the camera died straight after.

It didn't end there, the next stop was the Trafford Centre. Toms' attitude was, more or less, get in to get out. This was mainly down to the fact that we were visiting his place of work, so that his parents could buy a six man tent. Tom reckons this is down to the need for extra storage when camping, I wonder if there are other ideas circulating too. The new Wetherspoons was the last port of call in there. The Mardi-Gras is equipped with many of the dramatic masks to be expected and also, to remind us where we are (just in case), there are street signs behind the bar for Deansgate, Market Street and Old Trafford. My pint of lemonade was much appreciated as we did our best to win on the interactive Pub Quiz. I am yet to prosper though Tom has won before.       

When we finally got back to my home, we were decidedly knackered. The plan had been to go to a BBQ at a friends' house but, due to the fact that it was a Sunday and buses are very awkward (especially when you plan on taking two), we were tired and it was also getting late, we decided against it. Instead, we made our own tea, hopped a lift (via Stretford) to Cadishead and effectively fell asleep. Phew.

Monday, 20 June 2011

Knives Forks and Spoons Press

Toms' days off last week culminated in a trip to Bolton on the Wednesday. We went for a wander round the shops and grabbed lunch at what used to be BL1. Mine was very much KFC on a plate. When we got to HMV, I realised that 'Paul' had been released on DVD. That was a must buy. I also found an album for The Neon Trees and bought it on the basis of their track 'Animal' which is really catchy. I have to say that, of what I have heard so far (which isn't much) I am going to hope that it's a grower...

On Thursday, Andy wanted us at the flat to help him move a new sofa in. We set off early enough but by the time we got there it had already arrived.The broken sofa still needed removing. Andy had shopping to do, so when we dropped Adele at the bus stop, it was another trip to the supermarket for the three of us. Of course, I managed to lose them. It's a large warehouse with no phone signal. Fun. When we returned, they shifted the sofa and we locked Tom outside in the rain, he did say he wanted to test out his North Face jacket!

Rachel arrived soon after we let him back in. We had incorporated a baking list in the shopping and, together, had ingredients for brownies and cupcakes. The lads made the brownies and we made the cupcakes. There was only a shallow baking tray for the brownies, so they actually ended up tasting like chocolate biscuits, not bad! The cupcakes were baked in some reusable cases but they didn't rise brilliantly, still, they tasted fine. Everyone still managed a meal at The Cock Hotel, which was followed by a haphazard game of darts from the girls and pool from the boys.

Amazingly, despite the downpour on Wednesday, Thursday was quite nice. Alex and I did the Advertisers on foot with two trolleys and it only took us two hours!

I started my work experience today! Up at 6:45am, my bag was already packed and I was ready to leave at 7.15. I had a lift with a friend of mums' from the church. The roads were surprisingly clear and we were soon at Worsley roundabout. On the way we were talking about what kinds of things I would like to do in my career and I voiced my interest in PR work. Joanne works at the hospital and she was quick to fill me in on the PR department there, who are currently promoting a new radiotherapy unit which opens soon.

I never really considered PR outside of the media or large conglomerates, but it seems as though it could be more of a requirement than people realise. The journey ended and I was soon crossing the motorway bridge for the train station at Eccles. At the ticket office I had to swallow my tongue when, of course, I paid peak fare at £6.70 for a return. I look at it as an investment in my own future because the more willing and flexible you are, the further it will get you.

Alec let me in and I was immediately a cause for excitement for Zoe the Jack Russell. She was very hyper and remained that way for most of the day - jumping on and off my lap repeatedly. I was given a health and safety talk and shown the printers, guillotine and binding machine. I will never use the binder because there are   four or five different possible hazards including burns and (as a demonstrator in China found out when his tie got trapped) decapitation.

I have my own coat for the 'dirty work' and will require earplugs too when the binder is in motion. The dirtiest I got today was when Zoe decided to paw my t-shirt, I can live with that! I was given a manuscript and read it through twice over. It was a submission which had been sent previously but deemed too long, so I saw the heavily edited version. I really enjoyed it and would like to research the subject matter a bit more. When I had finished, Alec asked me whether I thought it was publishable. I was surprised that my opinion counted so soon but was pleased to agree that it was.

I don't use Apple Mac computers so it took a little bit of getting used to but another manuscript, in PDF format, was opened for me to see. I had to proofread the document and then transfer it into iWorks to typeset. Because there are so many thousands of fonts, we were unable to match up the one used and had to find one which fittest the closest for page numbers.

I was taught the meaning of recto and verso pages (i.e. odd and even numbers) and had a diagram of how to set out a galley proof. The numbers were printed on alternating pages so that they would read through correctly when bound.This seemed quite clear and I started work setting the margins in centimeters. I thought it worked relatively well and, when I checked the page numbers against the original PDF, it was correct. This was right up until the center page spread where it went awry. I think it will be my job tomorrow to fix that. The author sent us a cover page so all that was left to do, once we had fixed the title page etc, was pick the card for the chapbook. Alec showed me a green sheet and paired it with a brown inlay, I didn't particularly like the match so he changed it to green and black.

Soon after I was back at the station and in Eccles there was a collision on the motorway. We had to wind our way through Monton to get home. Tomorrow I'm heading back to see what I'll learn next!

Monday, 13 June 2011

Better things to do tonight...

So, my parents are away leaving myself and my brother in the house. They call it cat-sitting. Any time I try to 'sit' the cat anywhere in my immediate surroundings, she wanders off. My brother isn't the conversationalist I'd hope for. So it's just me really.

I got paid on Friday. That was the longest month of my life, or so it felt. I really have spent a lot of time in the confines of the supermarket. A wage well earned and to be enjoyed I hope! I checked my bank on the way to a 9-5 and remained pretty happy for the rest of the day. Afterwards I met Tom and waited for Alex to arrive with shopping bags, he wasn't best pleased about dragging them through Walkden. I had made a list the night before to keep it as painless as possible, but every passing minute was too long for the boys. I had to remind them that I had already spent 8 hours there to try and silence the subject. Typically they spent more time weighing up offers on alcohol more than anything else.

It seemed that transporting the food home was literally more painful than the shopping itself. Tom insisted that he had the heaviest bags, yet when we offered to re-jig them he refused. They say women are confusing... We had to haul the bags past the car on the drive, oh the irony. I am hoping that we won't have to make any more trips to Tesco. By this time it was half six and a chippy tea was called for. Alex left in the evening and we settled to watch a film which Tom had been promising to watch for ages. I should have guessed that he'd get tired and we'd have to stop it not even half way through! It really felt like a Saturday night to me for some strange reason, so to wake up on Saturday morning to another shift was a bit boggling!

A few days previous on the Tuesday, I had met Sally and Dan in the Trafford Centre to discuss some script ideas. We have a few things to look at together and then Tom met us upstairs in Starbucks. Sally left us as we went for food. Dan had a brainwave that Adele was off that day and he hadn't yet visited the new flat. We all got on the bus to Walkden together and called in. I made a point whilst there that I was going to have a free house over the weekend and that I wouldn't mind some company.

Saturday didn't feel like a Saturday. It was really strange. The friend I normally spend my breaks with was absent so I just crossed my fingers that people would be in the canteen who I could speak to. During my last break Rachel, who had previously told me she had plans for that night, text me to tell me she was now free! She made my day, we met in work to get some bits for the evening and had a drama with a self service till.

Back at home, Dan and Jess were first to arrive and the rest followed suit. After a chat, we used it as a bit of an opportunity to screen some work. I had the DVD of Sally's short film (I edited the script and parts were filmed in Andy's old flat), I also had some of Dan's work too. Following that, as I had my laptop connected to the TV, it turned to an evening of YouTube! Even so, it was 100% better than spending the night on my own as Alex had decided to go out!

Tomorrow and Wednesday are Toms' days off, I have them clear of work too so we'll just see where we end up!

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Oh my...

I went from multiple posting in the same day to nothing for two weeks or more. If anybody actually reads my blog I'm sorry. That also depends on whether or not you are really that bothered.

I do this for fun. I have had some good times recently but they have been interspersed with a lot of hours at work. I am saving money whilst working as much as I can up until placement. In between these hours I have mostly been seeing Tom. Many people have been concentrating on finishing the last bits of their degrees and we are slowly regaining momentum towards the summer.

Last week, I went to see the Manchester United Youth Team with Dad and Alex. It was the second leg of the final against Sheffield United and they started the match on a 2-2 draw. It felt strange not really knowing who I was watching but I still got into the game. It looks as though Keane and Morrison are players to keep eyes peeled for in the near future of Manchester United. Both players scored two goals apiece. Sheffield managed to pull one back but we finished the game with a 6-3 victory.

On Wednesday last week I took a trip with Jessica and Dan to Chester Zoo. My uni friends had planned the 'Zooniverse' trip but we arrived separately from Liverpool and Manchester. When first investigating travel routes,  the train seemed to be quite expensive for just a one way ticket, thank National Express for £3.80 each way! Leather seats did us fine and we only arrived ten minutes later than everyone else.

Hayley handed me a bracelet on our first meeting for quite some time, I was touched =]. We wandered between elephants and baby meerkats, from Jaguars to bats. I really enjoyed the bat cave, it was chilling when one flew by inches from my ear. Hayley was in her element because she loves bats. Once your eyes got used to the darkness it was amazing how you could see them hanging almost within reach.

Butterflies fluttered in the daylight. We were careful not to tread on them and Chris took some brilliant pictures (available on Facebook) of them and many of the other creatures we encountered. I almost aided an escapee butterfly which clung to my jean leg. An American lady was quick to notice, stopped me from leaving and Abi was forced to encourage it away from me. She seemed to enjoy naming the variations as her dissertation equipped her with impressive knowledge.

Not to feel left out, Paul befriended an exotic bird of the feathered variety. He named 'her' Sandrine. 'She' was responsive to his movement and receptive of our speech as she mimicked us in her own language. When we moved round her cage to see her inmates, she followed. By the time we revisited her on the way out, we felt quite attached to her and even sad?

Returning to Manchester, Dan, Jess and I decided to go for tea at Frankie and Benny's. I ordered what I thought was going to be pasta but Jess informed me that it was actually a folded pizza... So long that it entailed chicken, I wasn't too fussed!

The last time we attempted to take part in the Fab Cafe quiz, there weren't enough participants and it never materialised. This week it immediately felt more lively. The word game could be described as a version of 'Say What You See'. e.g.  'Blu e'   was blue movie. I didn't get it. The first round was historically themed so it rendered me pretty useless really, the second was more science/science fiction so that didn't do much for me either. By the time it came to the music round it was nearly 10pm. I was working at 9am the next morning and knew that the ridiculous roadworks on Chapel St would still cause me grief. Though I was missing my music round, I managed to jump on a bus at Piccadilly which, even at that time of night, still took twice as long as usual and dropped me home at 11pm! I was knackered!

On Bank Holiday Monday I worked a 7am-1pm. It felt good to have gotten a decent shift in but I still had the majority of my day remaining. When we were wandering through the store, Tom found out that his parents were coming down part way through their camping holiday. We settled that we would go out with them the following day.

Mum had told me in the preceding days that Ellis Brigham was having a sale. Tom had assured me (because he's the outdoor expert and i'm certainly not) that a sale there would be well worth visiting! We set out on the bus and arrived at the shop for ten to four. From the outside, the shutters were down and it looked pretty deserted. Tom tried the only door we could find and it opened under his grasp. We were alerted upon entering that we only had ten minutes before closing time! Luckily the rails were organised into genders and sizes. Tom found a (medium) North Face waterproof. It was perfect and discovered in perfect time. The RRP  was £90 and I got it for £45, bargain!

Yesterday our route was decided. Tom had not seen his Nan in Darwen for some time and she was our first port of call. We also visited Oswaldtwistle Mills and Queen Street Mill in Burnley. Oswaldtwistle was a mixed bag of everything from a sweet to a book shop. A bit of a mooch and I enjoy browsing such places. In one of Mum's magazines, I had seen a kit where you can build your own 3D model of an owl. As a fan of the species I was keen to get one and discovered them in the Mill for £4.99 - something for a rainy day at Tom's =P.
Queen Street Mill is the last working textile mill (for display purposes only). We saw the engineer generate the steam required to drive the powered looms. It travels through shafting along the ceiling of every room and powers hundreds of machines.
When we got back to Cadishead, I helped Tom to pitch his parents tent which needed to dry out. We also had a little kick-about on the drive but I don't think I'm up to scratch to start playing in the park just yet!

I potentially have the weekend off but I have no idea exactly how it will pan out, if it is worth writing about, it shall be done. I hope so!

 

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Look Where We Are

I've broken the rules concerning musically inspired blogs, kind of. I usually get started by listening to a song which incites either a mood or a topic for me to expand on. Today I started with Hoobastank - Inside of You but scanned down my iTunes playlist to find the topic of this blog under the same artist.

I chose this song because it represents where I am right now. Yesterday, I took a trip to uni with a bulging folder and two bags full of library books. It was the dreaded/long awaited final deadline day. I had my work sorted into  plastic wallets for the last time. It was really strange filling out five lots of cover sheets and dropping them into the box. I cleared my £6.00 library fine because you can't graduate if you don't! Fifteen books down the chute and I'm free.

Monday was yet another bank holiday which meant a day with Tom. We met up in town and shopped for picnic stuff. I've been on trams a lot recently and this was no exception. Tom has been suggesting going to Heaton Park for a while and, though it was windy, it was a good day to go. We jumped on the Bury tram and the stop for the park is right outside the gates.

Tom wanted to eat our picnic on the grass but under the shade of a tree. Granted, this meant we were away from the elements but it was dark! We found a spot on the field which was pretty empty and tucked in. As we ate, the grass filled with families, kites and footballs.

On the lake people were battling rough water but they weren't getting very far. £8.00 for 45 mins wouldn't get me very far either... It was cheaper to jump on the park tram. It's an old fashioned open top which came from Blackpool. I had never seen the wires changed over before, it reminded me of trying to hook a duck on the fair.

Our next stop was the animal centre. We expected the rabbits, the chickens and the goats but not the alpaca which visited the toilet in front of adoring fans. I also didn't expect to find the scrawniest and scruffiest duck I've ever seen. His friend was actually pretty scary, it was a white duck but his eyes were simply blobs of white and that is not right. It looked as if it had Glaucoma or something and wasn't pleasant to look at. At that point I had seen enough.

Back in town I had a mini mission. On Sunday night I had been messing around with my brothers PS3 on the main television in the lounge. I had my latest copy of Kerrang! and sat searching bands on YouTube. With having no access to Kerrang TV I've been starved of music. Up until finishing my work on Friday, I hadn't bought an issue of the magazine for about seven or eight months either. My iTunes was drying up with stale music and I was getting bored with my playlist. The discovery of a new single from Simple Plan, music from Twin Atlantic and an EP from Francesqa meant that I had some CDs to buy in HMV. Later that night I also found a free download of Canterbury's album from their website so I have a decent amount of new songs to get into!

I plan to revert to my life of music and gigs which I had before starting uni and I missed it for three years. Speaking of music, Kerrang Magazine is out again today and I need to go and buy it in a bit!

Tonight we're all meeting at the Pint Pot for a celebration of Dan and Jess's engagement. I have a sneaky feeling that football will be involved too...

Sunday, 1 May 2011

Enter Sandman

I have been away for the last week, keep reading down. Here are my exploits... 


Tuesday 26/04/11

We visited the much publicised Sand Exhibition today. This came after mooching around the town itself. I found an Animal shop and, because they are so rare at home, I had to buy a t-shirt! It is my favourite shade of blue!
  My parents keep trying to get me to remember the town, this is bearing in mind that I haven't visited since I was six... However, I do remember image of a white horse which is on the hill near Osmington. I don't remember the pub which sits down below and just off the main road.

The Smugglers Inn

Or the sign on their car park below...

''lesser cars will be clamped" !!!
The sand exhibition is still quite small with apparent plans for expansion. However, I really enjoyed examining the sculptures of castles, pirates, ships and dinosaurs. They were all as tall as double decker buses and, all together, consisted of 75 tonnes of sand! It amazed me how intricate the detail was and how the damsel in the boat (below) or the waterfall (which ran from the very top of the castle sculpture to the bottom) didn't collapse.

Mum and Me in the Sand Exhibition
Monday 25/04/11

We spent five hours in the car today. I was reluctant to get out of bed when Dad came into my room at 6.30am. Despite this, my iPod kept me company whilst I had my eyes out for Volkswagen camper vans. We spotted six or seven but no splitties!

On the campsite, I'm not impressed with how the caravans are crowded together like some kind of military field. I hoped we wouldn't stay on site very often. 



That night we did a quiz in the bar. It was interactive with video clips and video mashups. I think only one team got a higher score than us on our side of the room. We were glad because the winners on each side had to do a deciding round on stage... The last time we let Dad on the stage was in Devon and he had to sing 'Teenager in Love'... oh dear.

We planned on going back to the 'The Smugglers Inn' for tea. It was a little pricey but I enjoyed my scampi, especially because it came with an ample amount of tartar sauce! 

And, because they never get any recognition (apparently) Dad took this:



Weymouth

Wednesday


We continued the walking theme of our holiday over the next few days. On Wednesday we took a trip to Durdle Door. It is a formation of rock on the picturesque coastline which has the resemblance of a doorway eroded through.
We parked up on the roadside and walked through a campsite with some very noisy feathered inhabitants. The trip down to the coast was only slightly precarious with a thin footpath and loose stones causing us to slip and slide. It was worth the effort for some brilliant views and photo opportunities.

Durdle Door


A shingle beach awaited us at the bottom and we watched a King Charles spaniel frolicking in the clear sea. Mum also caught sight of a swimmer, in a wet-suit and with bare feet, climbing the 'door'. He got half way up before coming unstuck and jumping off. Another fellow in a canoe wanted to sail through the opening, but the current denied him.

Me and Mum

A crunch behind us signaled someone, who had gotten all the way down to the last few steps, falling. On our ascent back to the car, we opted for the path which wasn't full of stones, but it was steep! A lady carried a tiny baby ahead of us, I was surprised that she didn't manage to slip. Further along, another lady was heading the opposite way whilst clutching a toddler. They also fell. Both were okay but the child cried with shock. I knew that the views ahead would console the lady, but I wasn't convinced that the child would be bothered...

Corfe Castle

Corfe Castle was the next port of call. We parked up near a Volkswagen camper van but the owners returned before I could photograph it. On the way into the centre, we passed a graveyard where this inscription caught my eye.

To live in the hearts
of those we love
is not to die

I like that. I think that it's a positive thought coming from a dark place. Much appreciated. 

The stone ruins of Corfe Castle inspired Kirren Island in The Famous Five by Enid Blyton. It was where the author took holidays and they have a 'Ginger Pop' shop inspired by the stories. I found all three Faraway Tree Stories in a collection and nostalgia spurred me...

Ginger Pop Shop!
Thursday

Today we went to Portland Rock. It is an island just off Weymouth. First, we took a stroll to the prison gates, the building itself is embedded in the hillside. To the left, we had a brilliant view of the land. The walk progressed in a wide circle of footpaths through grasslands, viewing posts and back to the car. 

Portland Rock UK
 Next, we stopped at Portland Bill where Dad and I trooped up numerous steps to the lantern room of the lighthouse. Again there were great views, though I could only see through a small gate. I wasn't tall enough to see through the windows! We also had a close up of the inner workings of the lantern itself. 


Blackleach

I stated last week that I would probably enjoy a bit more exercise... Since then I have taken walks with mum and Tom around Blackleach Country Park. If we head onto the street where Dad works, and continue to the end of it, we are on the park. To the right of the path are fields, and you can hear the motorway traffic droning in the distance. We have made many trips to the park over the years on both cycle and by foot. We always walk down to the lake and sit on a bench, which is likened to chilling in a straight jacket. Needless to say, we always move on quick

Pylons... Typical!
                                 
When I was with Mum on Good Friday, there were lots of young families doing some kind of Easter treasure hunt. It culminated at a new stone wall viewing point where there was also a wooden bench carved with flowers and birds. I have no idea why my phone took the photo in black and white...



Through a new metal gate, we discovered a woodland assault course. The kids were loving it, so I only managed to try out the springy bridge and tightrope walk before heading out past the heritage hut and onto Bolton Road. 

Tom

Me...
It was only Easter Sunday before I was back, this time with Tom in tow. We walked the same way through the streets to get to the park. We pass the playground I visited as a child and, Tom having a mental age of 5, leaped straight in! It has been reconstructed countless times with new tyre swings and climbing apparatus. It annoys me when I see empty bottles of Smirnoff near the equipment, some people have no respect!


Tom and I spent more time on the assault course. Only dog walkers were present. I was challenged to complete the course without touching the ground. This meant Tom giving me piggy backs between the sections. We even noticed the den which somebody had constructed in the undergrowth, I didn't want to desecrate it or cause it to collapse, so we left it alone.

The Den


That afternoon was a blast from the past, because we went to Darcy Lever where The Farmer's Arms had been closed for years. I last remember going for a meal on Grandad's 70th which was about 13 years ago. Alex and I loved the soft play area upstairs. Now it had a cafe with an ice cream parlour!

Thursday, 21 April 2011

We Have All The Time In The World

   I’ve finally got the chance to write about the last few days. It’s been so busy that I haven’t had time to sit and reflect upon it so I shall catch up now. I will probably write two, or even three blogs so that it doesn’t consist of a 2,000 word essay in one go! The blog title comes from a song which Rachel loves and she played it for me in Florence on our ride.

   Monday began my second full week at home on the Easter Holidays. For third years', they should last forever in terms of not having to go back to university for anything other than deadlines and Graduation. So fingers crossed! On Monday, I wrote my blog about the 30 Seconds to Mars song, and whilst doing that I found myself on Facebook as usual. Rachel should have been revising but, instead, she fancied a drive. I was only reading through essays so we arranged to go for a ride out to Hollingworth Lake. This is where we went to experiment with cameras for Media four years ago!

   I got picked up mid afternoon and had to answer Rachel’s phone as we were riding through Swinton because Andy had decided he wanted to meet us. However, he had managed to get lost. We had no idea where he had ended up, but whilst he was on the phone beside his motorbike, some bikers stopped and took him to ‘Broughton Pool’. I thought there was only one pool in the area so considered that it would be simple to find him now. Except the bikers took him to the ‘Fit City’ - it was the leisure centre WITHOUT a pool.

   When we finally met up, Rachel led Andy to the motorway giving him plenty of distance so that there wouldn’t be an accident if she had to break suddenly. We passed a woman on a manual bike towing a cart. She had two children in it and a baby in a car seat! I’m not sure why we trusted him but Andy insisted that, when we were on the motorway, he would know the way and that we should follow him. Of course, when we found ourselves on the road into Rochdale and Andy looked to be slightly confused, we knew then that we were lost. We had to continue in a queue down a main stretch and turn around in a college car park. Needless to say, we didn’t get to the lake.

   Time was getting on and Andy was supposed to be home for seven to let Adele into the flat. So we made our way home via The Rock in Bury and waited in the flat to go for tea at The Cock Hotel in Worsley. This was the second time I had been to the flat.

   On the previous Friday, a few of us were invited round to Andy and Adele’s for an unofficial housewarming. The flat is very close to where my parents had their first home in Walkden. It’s on the ground floor and adapted for disabled access. The corridor is therefore quite wide past a spacious bathroom on the left, large bedroom to the right and a second bedroom at the end. The living space and kitchen are together on the right as you walk in the front door. I thought the kitchen was relatively small but they had managed to feed four for two nights previously so perhaps it is deceptive!  

   Rachel brought Tom just after I had arrived and they went on a mini tour. Soon we were all chatting in the living room, we played cards for the first time in ages and proceeded to play ‘Spin the Bottle’ with my Blue WKD. We have a bit of an issue thinking up truths and dares sometimes, so Andy used his new phone to find an Android app for it. We tried a few which involved Tom drinking Olive Oil and Rachel answering rather personal questions! This lasted right up until the end of the night but we had a good time and I’m sure there will be more!

World In Motion

Tuesday
   I was asked by Dan to come back to college today. He was filming for his university project and needed some extras to assist. I met Adele at my bus stop and we jumped on a 37, this was the first time I’ve been able to travel with her. I even forgot to ring Rachel when we got to Swinton because I was too busy talking!

   Outside college, we waited for the two actors. One came from Wigan and the other from Liverpool! The character of 'Ron' had gotten slightly lost but came in due time. It felt really strange walking into college after three years because not a huge amount had changed. Where we used to sit, in the (‘Randomer’) corner of the lobby, they had installed a cash machine!

   We headed to the newer part of college which was outside and through the quad. A few current students stared because we had visitor badges clasped on our pockets. Everyone congregated in the studio where we had filmed our A2 music videos. I was designated to look after the clapperboard and a piece of chalk. Every time there was a new scene and take, I had to mark it on and ‘clap’ before the camera. It would help Adam to edit later on. There came a point when 'Ron' had to rap ‘World in Motion’ by New Order. We were pre warned not to laugh and never made a peep! All considering that it was a middle aged man in a suit from Liverpool doing it, but it really fitted the character. I think it took about six or seven takes to get the words the right way round!

   We were afforded half an hour to get lunch from the canteen. We always used to get the chicken burgers once a week so it seemed only right that we bought them today. I don’t think the woman serving recognised us though! Again, it was quite nostalgic to be eating in college; I kept my eyes open for my brother or cousin but didn’t see them. I had hoped to see my old Film Studies Tutor too. So when Dan and Damon returned from lunch having spoken to him, I was annoyed. This wasn't for long though because he came down to see Adele and I, so we went and spoke to him in the corridor. I’m hoping that I can persuade him to write a blog because the world is missing the outlandish personality that is Ben!

   After filming, I was supposed to fetch Tom from The Trafford Centre but it was an hour or more too early. So, when we returned to the flat this time, we picked up Andy and drove to the shopping mall. This was after scouting clothes from my house for filming the next day. Tom had been asked for a drink by his workmates so the three girls went shopping and Andy joined Tom ASAP.
   I wanted to find something new for Sarah’s meal on Wednesday. Rachel and Adele were sorted in H&M but it wasn’t as simple for me. I only bought a blue hoody. We made it all the way to Debenhams before I was finally spoilt for choice by two tops and one dress in ‘Butterfly’. Much deliberation followed and I finally came away with the simple navy blue dress with sequin detail just on the shoulder. On the way back, I returned the blue hoody to H&M because a tag hadn’t been removed and I was left red faced every time we entered any other store!     

Sarah's Homecoming Meal

Wednesday

   I had stayed the night at Toms' house and we were needed ‘on set’ for 1pm. Today we went to Jess’s house via Salford Precinct for food and a pair of leggings. We walked from the Precinct to drop clothes at the house before heading to the Salford University halls of residence at Castle Irwell. It was really warm and I appreciated the cooling spray which Jess shot up my back! Despite applying sun cream, I later discovered my first patch of sunburn in 2011.

   On the field, Tom was asked to shoot penalties with Dan whilst they filmed in the foreground. I chilled (not literally, unfortunately) by the bags and equipment with Adam. We watched as 'Ron' had to strip out of the suit down to his t-shirt and shorts in an attempt to impress 'Louise.'  I wasn’t expecting this to happen so I was quite surprised. Things seemed to flow easier today and shooting was over relatively quickly despite the sirens, music and lawnmowers that interrupted the sound. These will be layered by a wild track which Sam recorded when things quietened down.
   Later in the afternoon, we took a taxi to the Renaissance Hotel in town and headed towards The Moon under the Water on Deansgate. Sarah had phoned me during my last break at work on Saturday to tell me that she was on her way home for ten days. She has a yearlong placement split between Germany and Spain as part of her university course. She has many plans to fulfil in that short time so we arranged to go for a meal on the following Wednesday.

   We had to wait until seven for Adele to arrive after work. Sarah has a long history of showing up to arrangements over an hour late so, when she was at the train station early, and she arrived at six instead of seven, we were shocked!
   It was customary to begin the drinks with a pitcher of Cheeky V because it’s one of Sarah’s favourites and we finished it quickly. She was poking me throughout my tea to go and buy another one! We tried three cocktails in the end – Cheeky V, Black Magic and Blue Lagoon. Black Magic is actually pink, but I really enjoyed it and will be having it again! We took plenty of pictures and, as I’m writing this on Word because my Internet is down, I haven’t seen them just yet!

Monday, 18 April 2011

Chemistry



This song by One Night Only reminds me of a decent period last year in the most ironic of places. I was having a tough time at uni and the only day of the week when I wasn't fretting about it was Saturday. At the moment I work weekends until my deadlines are over and I can find more hours whilst searching for 'a proper job'. I spent a year in the bakery where I enjoyed my job and made some good friends.

The second album from One Night Only came out towards the end of the temporary store. I remember because I used to hear them in the car on the way and hum the songs to myself whilst I stocked up our little aisle at the back. Occasionally I would be caught singing and would proceed to be rather embarrassed. I enjoyed the company and it certainly helped through a time when I felt quite lonely.

This year, I want another positive effect on my life over the summer. I am very keen to start eating properly. In the second year of uni, I was often eating alone and this instilled an attitude where I didn't bother to provide proper meals just for myself. Third year saw three of us sharing food which resulted in a cause to buy decent provisions for the same amount of money, sometimes it was cheaper!

I don't really eat beyond my means. Feeling fit to burst is exactly the opposite of what I want. We have relative sized plates to the amount of food we need which disperses the mental need to fill the plate. I like to take the healthy option but, like everyone, I have my temptations. I have decided that a size 12 is the right size for me which is what I am, but I still feel as though I could be leaner. This causes dispute between myself and my family and friends but, really, a bit more exercise would probably sort this problem.

My mum goes to 'Keep Fit' where she does aerobics and she loves it. They play current chart hits to get people moving and she's always saying things like 'Ooh we do this one at keep fit' when songs come on the radio. For a while she has encouraged me to join her and my excuse has been my workload for university, but now that final deadlines are looming and I feel on top of my coursework, I will be joining her very soon.

I don't wish to be a size six, I just want to feel better about myself and this is the way to do it =]      

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Night of The Hunter





This is by far my absolute favourite song by 30 Seconds to Mars. The excerpt of French (La Nuit du chasseur) at the very beginning instantly connects me to the music. I love the build up and the complexity of the whole piece. 


I generally name a song which I'm listening to as the title of my blog. The last blog was an exception because (for once) I might not have actually been listening to any. Instead I chose to go on a slight rant about the subject of my essay because it intrigued me.
  
I am struggling to decide whether or not I work better with music on. It seems to calm me having that familiar sound washing over the room whilst I am structuring an essay.

Two weeks (or so) ago, I spent about four hours in the library and got a huge chunk of one essay completed. The only difference to doing it there was that I couldn't really get away with playing my music. Yes I got a lot of work done because of instant access to all the books I required, but I also came away with a horrendous headache which lasted for almost a full week. It brought about the only Saturday I've ever had where I'd truly wished to God that I'd phoned in sick, it was a bad day. Breaks with friends were the only relief.

 I have decided that I really do depend on music. If I can't have it when it is most needed I fail to operate properly. Hence why, when I lost an iPod a few years back (sob!), I got through two buses to college and back and then went straight to Argos to buy a new one. It enables me to enter my own universe where my thoughts and wishes are mine alone. Thus why I am confused as to why I work well with it, when I need my wits the most... Perhaps silence is the real enemy? 



Monday, 11 April 2011

Language And [my own] Development

I am currently writing an essay for English about the development of English using the English language.

The latter part of that sentence is the bit I like. I love to utilise words. There are so many different combinations but there is never a specific code for success. Having access to such a diverse linguistic tool means that we are quite powerful, we underestimate how utilitarian our language actually is. We take for granted the immense struggle with which many foreign speakers broil to acquire, even a fraction of, what we have.

I have grown to appreciate how the language is viewed elsewhere as a symbol of prestige. I have also discovered just how little we, as a nation, appreciate the tongue we use on a daily basis. What use is English? Where can it get me? The answer to that is just about everywhere. It is a language of mobility.

Now I turn to where it can get me specifically. I have always enjoyed manipulating words to develop my own voice. Having nearly completed a degree centred on both the academic and creative spectrums of English, I can now revel in the skills it has presented me. I want to use these to the best of my ability. I want to take the functions of language and use them for my own purposes. I want it to provide for me, I strive to have it take me beyond the pen and paper and into the world which has been broadened for me with the insight my essay has provided.

I have ambition, and in the words of The Blackout (linked on a blog somewhere in the realms below) Ambition is Critical!

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Land Of Confusion

I refer here to the Disturbed cover of the Genesis song. I love both and found it rather comical that Mum sang along to this (metal!) version in the car! Anyway, I am currently residing in such a land. I have stuck my neck out and sent my CV to BBC North. During the process I was asked to 'tick all that apply' regarding my knowledge and skills etc... I felt quite overwhelmed by the technical jargon concerning
media production because I prefer (not so traditional) methods from pen and paper to laptops and blogs!

I am hoping that this will direct me somewhere in the regions of PR, advertising and communications which I was relieved to find in such extensive lists. I had help from a University CV adviser to update my CV to 'showcase' my ablilities. I was able to write about university experiences and how they have developed me as a person in terms of applicable interpersonal skills and academic knowledge. I wanted to show that writing is my forte and I hope that this shows through!

I will continue to search out my perfect career. I think I am more clued up about it than I was six months ago and that has enabled me to search in the right places and ask relevant questions. I want to write, I need to use my linguistic competence for pleasure and purpose, I have discovered PR. It is very much the type of thing I need. It would allow me to write, advertise and communicate. I like to spread the word and publicise as much as I can, to do this on a daily basis would be perfect for me!

Thursday, 10 March 2011

Underdog

You Me At Six, what a brilliant way to start a blog =]

I promised myself last week that I would make it home for pancake day. Guess what? I didn't. This was partly because itwas one of the rare weeks where I actually had three days of uni. I didn't see much of a point in going home after class, only to come back next week when I have another three days off.

 (Someone needs to tell me how to turn off 'Overwrite' as I just had to completely retype that last sentence, this will make things very difficult to edit...)

So, anyway, Friday last week is barely worth mentioning if I am honest as it was the usual Friday night in, with the exception that Tom was there of course! I did my 9-6 on Saturday and choked on my lunch whilst arguing that Ewoks are not only for girls. I am no girly girl and you only have to ask my friends to confirm that. It was slightly embarrassing  but I'm sure it will have been forgotten by this week.... Tom picked me up and we had made plans with our friends to go to the AMC cinema.

Unfortunately, Tom has a strange habit of 'spontaneously' arranging cinema visits. I.e. show up at AMC cinema and watch whatever's on. This annoys me though, I find that we end up watching lots of films which we couldn't give a toss about and missing all the good ones just because we were ten minutes late or two hours early. Figures. So, of course, we find nothing of interest on at a decent time and wind up going for drinks, because it's always our back up option.

We left AMC from the back and walked round the GMEX to appear on the street near Deansgate station. Chris had decided he wanted to try Overdraught's latest makeover and go 'Downtown'. As far as I could tell, there was hardly anything different about it. It was very quiet and it played very much the same old. It used to be quite alternative when we started going at 18 but it succumbed to the sheep. I have to say, its rebrand is very much to hide the fact that nothing inside has changed. The lads played pool against two very energetic men who Andy appeared to get quite close to! Adele, Sam and I chatted. We had to instigate the move to City Road Inn because it just wasn't feeling like a Saturday night.

   I resolved whilst in 'Downtown' that I really want to go on a big night out after the final deadlines at Uni. We had some really good nights in college and they seem to have gone by the wayside recently. I wanrt to give 5th Avenue another chance to see if it has returned to it's alternative glory as Number One Indie Experience, I really hope so.

Sunday was work again and the best bit about it was the extra sausage rolls that came back to the counter at the end of the shift. The big managers were in taking a look around and Nicole had been told to put out extra sausage rolls and pasties, to fill up the grab and go section at the front of the store. Of course they didn't all sell and a bag full came back for waste at the end. I think it's a real shame how much food does get wasted because it has 'gone out of date'. We rely too much on specific numbers, if a customer sees something on the shelf that's one day out of date, we are flouting Trade Standards so everything has to go. Pity.
I finished High Fidelity this week, read Nick and Norah's Infinate Playlist and now I'm on Skins The Novel, it's all for uni work! I have got to say that my fiction piece is my favourite deadline to work on and deadlines are all that I have worked on everyday this week. I think I've started everything except for two essays which are due in May. It's all so I can have fun at home over the weekend. Roll on 5pm tomorrow and the cinema trip on Saturday where we are picking a film AND a time! We will get to see a movie!!

Thursday, 3 March 2011

Simple Plan

I don't think i've ever written a blog without the aid of music in the background. I don't generally do uni work without music either and I've definitely spent a lot of time with iTunes this past week. It knows me and my friends well.

When Hayley entered my room yesterday it was inadvertently playing Disturbed via my iPod, when Tom is around it goes for The Courteeners etc when I'm here I get a mixed bag of everything. This week hasn't necessarily been much of a mixed bag of anything other than work which I'm now doing for the sake of it. Everyone has deadlines to complete. At the moment, my timetable consists of one full day and one half day. This is for two of three weeks at a time i.e. Monday morning and all day Friday.

We are doing what could be considered as our dissertation. I like this form of dissertation, it is wholly creative with editing input from some of my friends. I seem to have chosen one of my favourite topics again - Manchester. I drop place names like a trail of crumbs around the city. It makes my story realistic, I know my location and it comes across in the story. The idea of 'write what you know' is similar to the analogy by Ben in our film studies exams 'tell me what you know'. It is also a revision technique I was told perhaps a little too late but better late than never, Rachel advised me in future to talk out the subject which I am revising for with a relative or significant other. It probably succeeds in highlighting which areas have a lapse of knowledge. I will encourage this in the future, perhaps with Tom or whoever needs it!

I have kept on top of most of my work, the 'dissertation'  of 5,000 words has 445 words over its' limit which does allow 10% extra. My poems have been handed in today, my presentation is ready to give tomorrow and I have been reading Communicating Sexuality materials to find information which I can use to analyse a piece by Scott Kiesling. The benefits of Ormskirk are that you can get your essentials very easily but there is little to distract you other than Facebook, though I did travel to Hayley's yesterday via the town to chill out.

Chilling out involved playing with Abi's iPad which was rather fun. I was able to watch Ambition is Critical (see previous blog) on a decent sized screen whilst relaxing on the bean bag chair! Hayley reckons that the infamous bean bag chair will have to be disposed of at the end of the year due to limited space at home, it's a sad thought...

Today offered little excitement, I met Paul, handed in my assignment and chatted  with Mark in the LRC for a bit. It also included a hoovering of my room and more reading of Communicating Sexuality. I am considering returning home to Manchester after class on Tuesday next week, 1) it's pancake day at some point 2) I like to see my family (and friends if possible). Yesterday I missed Sarah's homecoming from Germany and now she's off to Spain! I am thoroughly annoyed that I didn't go home for it and hope she had a good time out with people last night. I did see most of my friends on Saturday though for Dan's 21st. I really enjoyed it and made a new little friend as well as catching up with old ones and people who I've not seen for quite some time!

The weekend ahead involves work on Saturday and Sunday but it's all part of what enables me to get out and about, it will be a quiet one but I don't really mind! =]

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Get In Line


The song above is Ambition Is Critical by The Blackout, it has nothing to do with my blog other than the fact that I'm currently loving the track and can't wait for their album 'Hope' to be released in April!!!

Anyway....

Considering that waiting around with my fingers crossed is going to be a regular activity soon(?) for me, Get In Line by Air Traffic is apt to be the song I listen to whilst deciding to write a blog. At every stage of education so far, what we learn at one point is bettered or wronged later on. I took my CV to a careers adviser and as I was told in college that they should fit to a page I was suprised, kind of, to learn that now, I have the opportunity to extend this to two, lucky me. I have the chance to 'show off' by taking key skills in life and adapting everything i've done and learnt to fit these categories. I was quite suprised to find that I have acquired much more than I originally realised. At the moment I am analysing (yes this is a skill) every aspect of myself and how I can display this in two sides of A4...

I have also been 'waiting in line' for over a decade now in terms of receiving my first valentine. I remember blasting the 'corporate holiday' last year and I still hold these feelings today. This year, Tom sent me my first card which I obviously reciprocated, buying one was certainly a strange phenomenom for me.I believe that we shouldn't need one day in particular to express feelings, it's almost cliche to do so on the day. This is partly why we went for our meal on the previous Friday at Zizzi's on Spinningfields, other reasons clearly including the impossibility of finding anywhere for the day so what's the point in attempting? I am still very proud of the calendar I made for Tom at work, especially since I had to rush it a little on my break though with a little help much appreciated.

Tom came to Uni and spent Monday through til Wednesday with me, I was rather chuffed =]. We tried a bar in Ormskirk which had advertised cheap drinks and they certainly were. I purchased a WKD and a Corona for less than the price I would normally pay for just a WKD. It just lacked atmosphere. Music was non existent for a while and when it leaked from the speakers it whispered over us. I enjoyed the following day in Liverpool much more when Tom and I simply explored for the fun of it. I even bought a yellow lambanana to remind me of my time so close to the city.

This week I have been off university, they call it reading week and they give us plenty of that to do for sure. I have also taken the opportunity to meet up with Sally. We were friends in college but since then we have seen much less of one another. On our Christmas meal she told me of a uni project she is doing which includes the writing of a script, I gladly agreed to help out in any way I can. Yesterday, we met at The Trafford Centre in Starbucks to discuss the plot of the story. At this point we only have a few bullet points and we spent the time ironing out any potential issues with the flow. Sally gave me more of her ideas which is much easier to do face to face over hot chocolate. I took in everything she said and suggested anything I could which might help her to get her point across. For example, she already had two possible endings and I was able to offer a third which would enable her to utilise foreshadowing which is a key device she wants to use.

I really enjoyed the time with Sally, we weren't quite as disciplined as we could have been because it was much too easy to delve away from the project and catch up on each others' lives. I still think we achieved a lot and I'm really looking forward to seeing what she produces in the script itself. I'm keen to check my emails daily for a scene or so that we can discuss and edit.

 Tomorrow I'm back on the buses to collect Tom again at 1 o'clock and who knows what will happen for the rest of the day? I look forward to it regardless! I have yet another trip shopping with mum on Thursday and can't wait to tackle the quiz that night!