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!