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Hickinbottom’s Aussie Ramblings

Archive for the ‘Job’ Category

Work. Games. Car. (In that order)

Posted by captainbeaky on April 14, 2008

Howdy! Well this is another short update, as…well….we havent been up to much due to the turbulent work situation. No work = no money = no going out. Everything is the same as when I last posted, and after speaking to folks today, its still in full effect. Frustrating, but Im not upsetting anyone this early into my Boeing career. Anyway, i dont really want to say anymore about it on here so I’ll zip it!

This break in working life has let me catch up on my gaming hobby, allowing me to revisit Forza, Gotham Racing and Halo 3. Halo has actually finally got me hooked on its multiplayer component. Its just so well balanced and for want of a better word, fair. Compared to a few frustrating rounds I played of Frontlines (spawn, dead, spawn, dead, spawn, dead, sp….you get the idea) its simple to pick up but takes a long time to get good at. Ive had my ass handed to me on several occasions by people of a much higher skill, but Ive done my fair share of killing too. Strange, on some rounds Im just cooking on gas, then the next round Im as flat as a pancake. Still, I was the same with BF1942. Im continuing to plug my way through Sega Tennis and Burnout, with the former becoming quite frustrating. Not sure how much milage I’ll be able to squeeze out of it as online, as its bloody awful, suffering from terrible lag. Your opponent is able to return your strokes, even when theyre 6 foot away from the ball. I’l see how many achievements I can get out of it, then trade it in, probably for GTA IV, which Im increasingly looking forward to. Not long to go now…..

Finally, my money has FINALLY come through successfully, so I’ll be going to the Mazda garage tomorrow to pick up my car. Hopefully anyway. Last I heard the garage wanted a heads up on when Im collecting it, so it can be valeted and the guy Ive been speaking to wasnt in today. Also got to get my insurance sorted for tomorrow too, but that shouldnt be a problem. Im excited but its a bit scary. Ive never driven over there before, and Ive never driven on my own, let alone in a new car! Oh well, Ive got TomTom Jane to help me out, at least thats what I think she’s called! I’ll keep you updated on what happens anyway.

Right oh, must dash. My thai take out isnt going to choose iteself!

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My New Babies! Oh, and something about a Grand Prix-thing???

Posted by captainbeaky on March 16, 2008

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So, as you can see, Ive changed things around a bit. I was getting a bit bored of the old look, and it felt a bit “Windows-ey” so Ive gone with this theme. I think it looks more fresh, and clean, but post a comment if you think otherwise, or have problems with it. 

I’ll also have to apologise for the lack of posts over the past 2 days. On Friday (you may or may not be aware) we were celebrating Becca getting a job! Wooo hooo! Working at a lab over in Clayton (East Melbourne) doing science (though not with GLADOS – sorry nerd reference). She is starting next week I think, but will know more details soon. So, to toast this news, we went out to a fabulous restaurant, right on the sea front, and managed to get a seat on the balcony overlooking the setting sun – it was lovely. And Im not sorry to say that the food matched the view – it was bloody stunning, and I reckon we’ll be going there revisiting it extremely soon. Strawberry and apple crumble topped with macadamia nuts – yum!

Saturday was spent in and around St Kilda at house inspections. We visited some really nice places, and one, which was simply stunning. Right on Marine Parade (sea front) with huge rooms, walk in robes and a patio with doors from the front room AND the bedroom. However, it was a bit out our price range, but its not hurting anyone to have a nose around.Today was driving lesson (last one before my test!) and more house inspections. The one we went to today was a really nice unit, with a massive amount of storage a great bathroom and a really nice kitchen but wasnt really in a great area. Much further from the beach than Id like, but at least we know what else is around.  After that, I went down to the beach to catch the flypasts by several FA18’s fighter jets and a rather low flying Qantas 747 – was mighty impressive, but what the photos (on facebook and webspace, page “oz photos 4”) dont show is the noise, speed, and just how low these things were. Like I say, impressive. The Grand Prix itself has been pretty good from our pespective, although I dare say if I lived up in Albert park itself I probably wouldnt say the same. Lots of eurotrash hanging around, dressed in awful, ill fitting clothes and being brash and noisy. Despite us being about a mile from the circuit itself, the noise coming from there was pretty loud. We were both really surprised at just how much we could hear the cars bombing around. 

Finally, a quick game update. Metroid 3 is damn good, feeling atmospheric and tense. The control scheme takes some getting used to, but once you adapt to how unusual it is, it becomes second nature. Much more like using keyboard and mouse than a standard console controller. I just cant help wonder how much grander it would have felt if the Wii had a bit more grunt under the bonnet.  Some moments are just aching for more grandiose graphics and effects, but on the whole its a great game. More details to follow – Im only just off the 1st level. Frontlines again, is a good game. The presentation isnt anything spectacular but it has solid gameplay. The FPS aspect of it is never going to challenge COD4 or Halo 3, but there are a few aspects where it excels. The open ended levels are truly opened ended, with more than just 1 avenue of attack, and multiple choices on how to tackle the same objective. The other area that plays out well is the variety in the gameplay. You can run around on foot, get in a  tank, a helo, a plane, or just hide in a corner and control a plethora of RC tanks and helo’s to shoot, missile or just kamikaze the enemy.  Single player seems short, but I guess its just a warm up for the multiplayer, which I havent tried yet. I think I’ll get myself proficient with everything before taking it online. Oh, and Im still slugging through the rest of the levels in Mario Galaxy. I cant seem to put it down, despite having “finished” it. 

The week ahead is not shaping it too badly. Going to the Melbourne Comedy Festival Gala on Wednesday night, Becca should start her new job next week, and its Easter weekend coming up. I think I’ll be working it, but only if the company want to pay for taxi’s there and back – no buses up there on public holidays.  Then its driving test next week – gulp! Been 40 degrees today, and the forecast for tomorrow is 39 – damn its hot – first time I’ll ever be going to work in shorts! 

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Less Ache. More Mario. More House.

Posted by captainbeaky on March 9, 2008

174926__hugh_l.jpgWell for once, a fair amount has happened since my last post. On Saturday, we spent most of the day in and around St Kilda, looking for houses, and going to inspections. Its all good practice for when we do come to buy a place, and it also gives us more of a feel for which areas are good, bad or indifferent. Went to a lovely place on the seafront that is within our price range, but it (and nearly all of the places we visited) all have their auction dates pretty soon, so we probably wont be able to bid. However, thats not the point of the exercise. What is heartening is that the sellers seem to be getting jittery about a the poor market conditions, and are knocking money off properties. Im sure when we looked a few weeks ago there was very little in our price range, but now theres a ton of stuff. All nice 2 bedroom properties in decent suburbs, and most of them would be up for consideration, had we the finances to bid. Its what we’ve sent most of today doing too, taking in 3 properties in the area. Very nice. Although its been 35 degrees hot so walking around has been energy sapping. 

Went round a mates house from work yesterday after our house hunting, for a few drinks and a meal. It was all very sophisti-ma-cated with high brow banter and everything. Very posh! Had some nice wine and some tasty beer and got to give his dog a fuss. Didnt drink too much though as I knew I had to be up early for my driving lesson this morning. All went well, which is good as I thought I may have been a bit rusty after no lessons for 2 weeks. To be brutally honest it was a bit boring. We just drove around for 90 minutes, not really learning anything. i shouldnt moan really, as its all good practice for my actual test. 

Played a  lot more Mario Galaxy today and it really is one of my favourite games of the past few years. Its just so much fun, its really addictive and you always want to see whats on the next level. Its unabashed merriment and I dont care if its seen as a bit childish. I think ive pretty much had it for now with realism in games. Fun is where its at, and as such, I’ll probably take my Brothers advice and buy Beautiful Katamari for 360 too. No bloody deaths, no “gritty urban environments”, no frustration, no “fiendishly clever A.I.” just pure unadulterated fun. 

Plans for the week…..I was going to go into work tomorrow but after looking at the bus timetables, I find that there is NO publice trasnport going anywhere near Boeing, so Im going to have to give it a miss. Maybe next public holiday, if they want me to work, they can pay for a taxi – we’ll see. Not sure what we will get up to tomorrow though. Becca goes to her volounteer work on Tuesday, Ive got more badminton on that day too, Wednesday we’re seeing Maximo Park, Thursday Ive got off, got a haircut and got my hazard perception test. Crook has a job interview (fingers crossed), then and Friday the chaps from work have a social thing going on in Port Melbourne so will get to meet some more people from work.  After that, its another solid weekend of inspections – should be really good. Ive thoroughly enjoyed this weekend, as its always good to look round other peoples places! 

As a parting shot, have a look at this video. Thanks to B3ta for bringing it to my attention, and for making me laugh my arse off at it! Enjoy! 

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Ch..Ch..Ch…Ch…Changes!

Posted by captainbeaky on February 20, 2008

e4a_chalk_and_cheese_training.jpgI still cant get used to Melbourne weather. Fact – yesterday had a high of 35ºC, was sunny ALL day, and was even measuring 29ºC outside at midnight. Fact – today was around 17ºC and drizzling all day! Really hard to get used to but I think everywhere had retained the heat inside from yesterday, so it wasnt cold at all in the factory. Speaking of which, its been a good day today as we actually got to experience a full working day with NO training. However, it was kind of scary that the parts we were checking today are going to end up on the end of a wing of a plane! Been really enjoyable, and look forward to more non-training related days. 

Enjoyed watching the Liverpool match today earlier today too. It was a real wrench though, as it was just about to kick off when I left for work, but I recorded it and have just finished watching it. Good result, and I hope they get through in a fortnights time.  Got the Arsenal match set to record tomorrow and am really looking forward to it – should be a great match for neutrals. Been up to nowt other than that – oh, played a bit more Gotham racing and really enjoyed it. The 3 lap race around the Nurburgring, in an old BMW M3, in teh tipping down rain was fantastic. Renewed my interest in the track, as Ive been virtually driving around it for nearly 5 years now. However, trying to drive the bikes using the wheel peripheral is bloody impossible, so I’ll just have to use the controller. 

Still unsure as to what new Mac I should get. With each week that goes by I wonder whether to wait for the inevitable MacBook Pro update, but I doubt I would use all its power all of the time, or just go for a MacBook Air now. One thing I do know is that trying to type on my existing MacBook when its 35ºC is almost unbearable – like some sort of thermal leg torture.  Plus, Im never going ot get a better time than now. No mortgage, no bills, no rates, no water/gas/electric supply to pay for and quite a significant wage coming in each week. SPeaking of which I havent a clue when we’ll apply for a mortgage as the papers today said that another interest rate hike is on the cards in the next few weeks. I just wish the economy here would crumble like the rest of the worlds. Exchange rates are crap (UK to AU) and a mortgage would be crippling. Everything just needs to slow down, before we take the plunge. Nevermind…..I can wait!

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Heat and FIFA Frustrations

Posted by captainbeaky on February 19, 2008

sweat.gifJebus H Christ its been another hot day today. 35 degrees, and probably about 30 of those in the factory. Its nowhere near as bad as my old place on a hot day though – no “wet” machining here at all so no coolant hanging in the air and sticking to your lungs. Despite it being really hot, its felt quite changeable as we’ve had CAD training in a very cool, almost cold, air conditioned office. Its been odd going from cool 18 degree office to blazing 35 outside – hard to adjust! I hear its getting on for -10 degrees in the UK though, so I think I’ll stop whining on about the heat!

As I mentioned, today has mostly been computer training, which for once has been extrememly interesting. Learnt a lot as quite a lot of the training was practical, so it stays in your brain instead of in one ear and out the other. As far as I know, we have no more training of any great length booked from here on in, so maybe we’ll actually be let loose on the shop floor tomorrow – scary!Not much else to report really. Just tend to spend my home time watching TV, playing on 360, eating and drinking. Perfect! Im finding FIFA 08 still extremely frustrating. Every 50/50 ball goes to the opposition. They can perform sliding tackles perfectly, by my guys always get fouls.  My guys wont suport me when I break into the opponents half. they dont make any challenges unless I tell them to – I dont know if Im still just annoyed that I was so good at FIFA 07, and now its like I would  have been better not actually playing it, or whether the game has some serious misgivings. Either way, I’ll be playing it rarely as it puts me in a terrible mood afterwards if things dont go my way! Played a bit of Gotham racing after that, and was impressed. Firstly from the amount of new downloadable content and how good it is, and secondly cos its the first time Ive played it with the wheel. Its mighty good, especially in a fast car – the weather effects really pull the wheel from your hands – its fantastic. The only downside is that , as with Forza, accurate use of the wheel leads to accurate driving, which doesnt really fit with Gothams whole “Kudos” thing. However, the kudos system has never really sat right with me so its more a fault of me not liking “cool” driving. I much prefer to take a corner, fast,  perfectly than powerslide around it backwards. Oh, I downloaded (legally I might add) UNKLE’s new album, and I’m REALLY like it. Nothing at all like the last one, as its gone for a more guitar-influenced sound. Doubt it will please the hardcore fans, but for us that only dabble in the hipping and the hopping and the dancing and the dubbing, it’s a good listen.


Posted in Games, Job, Music | 1 Comment »

The “Im too tired to post” Post

Posted by captainbeaky on February 1, 2008

yawn.jpgChrist Im tired! Ready for bed now and its only 8.30. I reckon I must have overdone it at the gym (or the beer I had to “finish off” after using a small amount in the chili I made for tomorrow) this afternoon. Weather was much better today, so decided to make use of my free 1 week pass and pump some iron! Spent much longer than anticipated in there, as the podcast I was listening too was damn good, and I was enjoying messing with the running machines and playing with the new weights machines. Had a nose in the changing rooms too – very swish. Nice and clean, electronic code lockers, individual opaque glass shower cubicles with shampoo, conditioner and body wash dispensers. Very impressive.

Didnt do much else as we didnt really feel like it. Gonna mooch around Boeing next week after work. For all I know, I could be getting a lift back each day, or could be starting on the day shift, so I’ll just take it as it comes.  Strange to consider that today was my last free weekday, since over a year ago. Oh, I booked my driving test for March 25th, so only 52 days to go – doesnt seem very long when you say it like that, even less so when you consider Ive only had 12 lessons so far! Oh well, got plenty of time to get some more practice in between now and then. 

Just finished watching the 2nd bit of that Ross Kemp in Afghanistan documentary, and I have to say its damn good. Really gives you a good idea of what its like being stuck in the middle of a firefight out there and its pretty scary. Even the generally annoying Kemp seems shaken and shit scared by it all, which isnt surprising when there are bullets and RPG’s flying over your head. Well worth a watch if you can still get the torrent of part 1.

For tomorrow, we’re going into Melbourne to see if we can see whats going on with the filming of The Pacific (I dont think we’ll get near it, but worth a try), have a bit of a mooch about and hunt out another rooftop bar, seeing as we so enjoyed the last one.  Get myself a lie in too, seeing as they’ll be coming to an abrupt end in a couple of days. 

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1 More Week of Being Dole Scum!

Posted by captainbeaky on January 23, 2008

bilde.jpegGot the official letter from Boeing today, offering me the position, but Im not going to mention anything specific as there is quite a detailed privacy section on the offer. Needless to say, its well paid, I can wear whatever (to an extent) and I start on February the 4th, as they want me to start on a full week, not like next week. So I get a week more of normal driving lessons and doing stuff before its nose to the grind stone time. Best make the most of it!

The weather was nice today so we decided to go over to Yarraville and have a mooch about.  Top and bottom of it is, that its a nice place, with lots of old period buildings, and it has a lovely little art deco theatre, that looks like the old Electric cinema in Birmingham (but newer and bigger). Yarraville also had quite a few nice little shops which sold antiquey type things. Didnt really float my boat but Becca thought it was good. As it was a small place, we spent the rest of the day in town, looking for a Sports Soccer style discount sportswear place for us to buy our gym equipment (yes we already have some but its in 1 of many unmarked boxes in storage and we cant go and open each one until we find what we want). However, Im not sure if its the time of year, or the fact that sport in general is taken a lot more seriously here than in the UK but nowhere wants to sell you stuff proper cheap. Most of the full price stuff, is cheaper than in the UK, but its still full price. I only wanted to pay $100 for trainers, but the cheapest we could find any was $150. Sooooooo…..we’re off to Chadstone tomorrow to see if we can pick stuff up there. 

Games wise, Ive been playing some of the online games I never got a chance to when they were released (thanks to crappy internet). I must admit to liking Halo 3 a LOT more than I ever anticipated. Its just so damn addictive, and its real easy to mute annoying folks when they mouth off. Shame I only ever seem to get to play on the Guardian and Snowbound maps! I tried Team Fortress 2 and was horribly disappointed. I only managed 1 game as I couldnt find any others. Whether thats indicative of how many folks play it, or the timezone differences between here, Europe and America that were at fault, I dont know. However, I cant say I liked it when I did play it. Far too fast and unsatisfying for my liking. I also dont like the way you move. When playing Halo 3, or Call of Duty 4, theres a physical prescence of you in the gameworld. You feel the long drops, bumping into stuff and it seems tangible that youre running around a believable place. I didnt get that with TF2. It just left me cold and feeling isoilated from what was going on. Oh well, its one less game I have to put time into. Shame though. I also spent a fair amount of time playing Gotham Racing 4 online, which was a load of fun. I didnt make the mistake of playing a Ranked match (usually full of twats who all pick the right car and moan at you if they smash into you, or use you as a brake), so a social playlist it was. No rules, no car classes, just whatever you want and it made it hella fun. Beating Ferraris while being in a Delorean was a big thrill and having bikes whizz past while in my car was also good fun. Best mode was called Bulldog – basically its playing “Tag” with cars. When one of you is tagged, you join in the hunt to tag the remaining cars. Its tremendous fun when there are 5 of you all chasing the 1 remaining car, all frantically trying to catch him. 

Anyway, Ive waffled on for games far too much. On to tomorrow, which starts with an 8.30am driving lesson (I’ll still be asleep!) then we’ll probably nip over to Chadstone, as mentioned before. Fingers crossed we manage to pick up some stuff. 

Edit: Few new photos on my webspace 

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780 days of joy, then this…

Posted by captainbeaky on January 21, 2008

aaba5c94b460.jpgOh dear! Yep – it finally struck me too. After having a fully working console from 9am on 2/12/2005, it finally gave up the ghost today. Its been a bit dodgy over the past few days, with games suddenly developing a strange yellow tinge when playing, which could only be remedied by powering off and on again. However, today, it appeared right from the turn on, so as normal I turned the thing off then on again, except nothing came on the TV. I could hear it booting up, but no video came on. Tried swapping TV’s, tried swapping cables, both with no luck. It was pointless trying to claim on the extended Microsoft 3 year warranty as it would have been for Microsoft UK, not Australia. So after a bit of research, several minutes of grumbling,  and a LOT of walking around Melbourne, I begrudgingly picked up another 360 (the Arcade version – seeing as I already had all the other bits from my busted 360). Just finished setting it all up and everything now works fine, as well as being a damn sight quieter than my original 360. After it was all done, I forgot to remove the Halo 3 disc from my old xbox, so powered it up to eject the disc and found I had the Red Ring of Death in all its full annoying glory. So now I have $400 less, but I have a working 360 again which is important because……

……I DEFINITELY have the Boeing job (so I need to get my gaming in this week! The agency called today to say that Boeing had offered me the position and would be sending me out the details, all ready to start next week on Tuesday (as Monday is a national holiday for Australia Day). This is good news as I’d been fretting that something would go wrong and the deal would turn sour, but now its all done and dusted!

I didnt manage to sort an update for yesterday as by the time Id remembered to make a post, it was late and 3 episodes of Peep Show were on TV so just had to let it go. We didnt do much anyway, as the weather didnt clear and it was drizzly all day. However to get us out of the house we had a wander around Albert Park (the town bit, not the actual park) which was small, but very nice. Lots of small bakeries and cafes with choice goods. We didnt do much today either until the 360 went tits up. Not sure what we’re up to tomorrow as I have a drivng lesson at 1pm so it kinda splits the day in half.  Either before next week, we want to go to Yarraville, have a wander over Prahran again to look at trainers and swimsuits for Becca, and get some gym gear from town. 

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…Now Cough Please….!

Posted by captainbeaky on January 18, 2008

medical_report.jpgTodays been a good day on the whole.  Started off with a double driving lesson, which went brilliantly! The instructor was nice, patient, informative, friendly and helpful. Got behind the wheel after he took me to a quieter area and did damn well, even if I do say so myself. The automatic gearshift makes SUCH a huge difference. You dont have to worry about the clutch, biting point, stalling, braking with/without clutch. In fact, your left leg just sits there, doing nothing – its great! I went from sitting in the car learning about the a/c controls to driving on quiet roads, to driving on busy roads to parking and reversing! Was really impressed, and so was the instructor. I cant imagine it will be very long before Im putting in for my test, providing I dont stink at reversing around corners or parallel parking. 

Second on my list was going for the medical for the Boeing job. It was pretty intensive, not in a running on a treadmill kind of way, but in its testing the complete range of motion of my body, hearing tests in a noise proof booth and testing my reflexes all over my arms and legs. It was crazy, but it all went with out a hitch. The only 2 things of note are the fact that I have lost a bit of hearing sensitivity on the high frequencies, which is to be expected after the operation and all. And also, I appear to have “hyper reflexes”, which sounds as if I should be able to catch flys with chopsticks, but all it means is that if someone’s testing my reflexes for my ankle, it makes my whole leg kick out. Very sensitive. 

Only other things of note that Ive done today are eat tasty churros here on the high street at a new shop, and eaten a tasty curry at the thai restaurant around the corner.  And I mean REALLY tasty!

Also been playing a lot of Assassins Creed, which seems to be a Marmite game. Personally, I love it. Its so damn immersive, and looks fantastic. I think a lot of folks that dont like it, are just blasting through it and not taking it all in. Half the fun of it is completing every task in every city, just to see the little nuggets of information that flesh the level out. Its that amount of freedom which I think the haters are missing. Because it gives you free opportunity to roam anywhere and assassinate bloke “a” at any time rather than forcing you down a tunnel, some people do just that, and thats missing out on half the game. Anyway, I love it!

Oh, and for anyone that didnt realise or that isnt part of Facebook, I regularly add photos to my webspace which you can get at by clicking the “My Webspace/photos” link on the right hand side of this page, under the Blogroll heading.  

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The St Kilda Roads Just Got More Dangerous….!

Posted by captainbeaky on January 17, 2008

l_plate.jpgThats right – Ive booked a double driving lesson for tomorrow morning! Think its about time I got myself behind the wheel, especially if Im going to be working lates, as the public transport kinda drops off as the day wears on. Im pretty excited, and a little scared – scared mainly of trams, but I guess its just a mater of confidence. Sounds like a good guy whos doing the teaching. I just hope he’s patient too!

Right – job news. Firstly, I havent officially got the job yet, or so Im told. Still in its candidacy phase so they cant really say if Ive definitely got it until all the other applicants have been informed too. Reading between the lines, though, with Boeing and the agency, its a dead cert – provided Im not a fat heffer! I have to have a pre-job medical for Boeing tomorrow, and the fact that Im having it is indicative of whether theyre serious about offering it to me. Fill out a questionnaire, water sample, lung capacity etc…. should be no problem. Then if thats ok, because of the closeness of everything, I will be starting Monday week. There is no way they can do a medical, get the results and send letters out to all the applicants in 1 day, and the agency recommended that the start date be put back a week so as not to rush any of the successful applicants. Fair enough I suppose. 

 Just got back from seeing Cloverfield today, and I must say Im a little disappointed. I wont post any spoilers so its safe to read on if youre going to see it. It does do a good job of teasing you with whats going on, and whats attacking the city. Only showing little glimpses of the “thing” until you see what it really is later on in the film. Reading that back, it sounds far more exciting than it is so dont blame me if it leaves you a bit cold. Both Becca and I couldnt care less about any of the main characters so its kind of irrelevant when they start dropping like flies. Maybe its just the sci-fi nerd in me that just wanted to see more of the “thing” stomping around, and less american half-wits being all heroic. Its also pretty short at only 1 hour 40, including ads and trailers, but I guess if it were any longer it would feel drawn out. It also has a pretty abrupt ending (which isnt really a shock considering the entire premise of the film) but it does leave you wanting a bit more. Even if its just a bit of text on the screen. However, nowt. Not even after the credits.  As a run of the mill film, its pretty good. Interesting way (if sometimes a little stomach churning with its manic camera movements) of taking on the traditional “monster flick” and it does succeed in some areas. However, it doesnt live up to the hype, and I dont think it ever could. I was hoping to come out and say it easily beat I Am Legend (the last film I saw) but I dont think it came close. 7/10

Nothing much else to report. Oh, we popped up to the gym/health spa on the sea front to see its facilities, as we’ll probably join once a wage is coming in. Its fantastic! A sea water pool, hydrotherapy pool, steam rooms and the gym itself is great. All the exercise bikes and treadmills have TV’s on the console in front of them, its all really clean, and has tons of specialist classes on. Head and shoulders above anything LA Fitness offered.  That was about it really. Driving and medical tomorrow and not much else. Wish me luck!

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New Job = New Treat

Posted by captainbeaky on January 16, 2008

design_gal04_20080115.jpgOK – right off the bat – no job news today. Sent off emails and contact numbers yesterday to get references done, and not heard a jot today. I’ll be sure to email them tomorrow to send me written confirmation of the job offer. 

Now, onto the juicy stuff (well…for me anyway). Soon, the laptop you see on the left will be in my possession. Announced today, its called the Macbook Air (crumby name I know) and its stupidly thin, half the weight of my existing Macbook and has all manner of bells and whistles that I wont bore you with, but if youre interested, you can read about it here. Storage size is a bit of an issue but Apple are releasing a wireless hard drive around the same time, so all the macs in our place can speak to it and share files.  Been playing with another new toy today, one which we bought yesterday but reasons I wont bore you with, didnt work until this morning. A little stick that I plug into the usb port on the mac mini, an ariel into the other end, and you have yourself your own video recorder! Has a Sky style TV guide and its just as easy to record programs. Really am quite impressed. You can even stream existing recorded programs over wifi to your ipod touch! Its tech nirvana! 

Didnt do much today. Stayed in and messed with said TV thing for the mac and read as much info as I can about the Apple press briefing last night. Popped out of the house late on to go to the Suzuki Night Market, which turned out to be shockingly busy. The food parts were crazy with folks but the rest of it was a bit airy-fairy and hippyish so left early for food elsewhere. Walked past a ton of Japanese restaurants, Sake bars and Ramen houses, but wanted something spicy so went to a place that specialises in laksa’s (indonesian spicy seafood soup with noodles). Changed my mind at the last minute and ordered a curry, and god damn if it wasnt the hottest curry Ive ever had. It just made me cough and made my nose/eyes water. Shocking. Was in need of cooling down so popped over the road and found a lovely little rooftop bar. The whole place was done up like an English garden sort of thing. White wrought iron style chairs, pergolas, parasols, trellis’s – it was amazing! In keeping with the look of the place, we both shared a pitcher of Pimms! Table service for drinks (and I had a tasty cupcake). They also handed out blankets for anyone out on the roof terrace who was a bit cold (its was a frighteningly chilly 22 degrees today! Brrrrrr!). A real gem of a place that I dont think youre average joe would know about. 

Not sure of any plans for tomorrow. Id like to go see Cloverfield at the cinema but that isnt going to take all day. Oh well, we’ll just play it by ear. Have fun……

Posted in Apple, Drink, Film, Food, Job, TV | 2 Comments »

Watch Out if You Fly Boeing From Now On….

Posted by captainbeaky on January 15, 2008

675px-control_surfaces_at_the_wing_of_a_planesvg.png…cos I work for them now muhahahahahaaa!!! Really good news eh? Cutting out the waffle, I turned up for the interview late (I swear the agency guy said 1.30, but it was actually 1pm) but they understood and were nice folks. The interview went well and I felt strangely calm and it came across with my answers. The job sounds good – sounds like what I used to do, but more interesting, especially going from automotive to aerospace. The only bit of a downer is that I will be required to work the evening shift for chunks at a time (3pm – 11pm) which isnt great but theres a 15% pay loading on that for unsociable hours. It does mean social life will be tricky to manage, and spending time with Crook will cut down, but theres no saying Becca wont get a job on lates or something. Also, Ive never tried lates before and I’ll try anything once to see how it goes, and the job is such a great opportunity that I couldnt let it slide. The amount of holidays per year is pretty extensive, the potential for career growth is great, all training is provided, and the pay is awesome (without going into specifics, its almost double what I was on in the UK). I start on Monday 21st (next Monday) so no time to hang about. From what they told me, Boeing Melbourne makes the control surfaces on the wings of the new Boeing 787 plane, which the picture above is showing. 

I feel a strange mix of excited and upset. Excited that Ive managed to get hold of such a good job with great prospects and great pay. Upset that my non-working lifestyle has come to an end, but that was inevitable anyway. Its also really upsetting that Dad isnt around to see me get the job. I know he really wanted me to get it as Id hyped it up for so long. I wore one of his shirts and one of his ties to the interview so he was with me at the interview anyway. I know he’d be proud right now.

To celebrate we went out for food and got a HUUUUUGE seafood platter to share, some drinks and rounded the night off with ice cream! Now, Im sitting here thinking of the things that need/Id like to get done before work starts. You know, go to some of the touristy things during the week, do a bit of shopping, get work supplies in, couple more shirts/ties and on a geeky level, get excited about tomorrows Macworld announcement. Here’s hoping for an ultra-portable Macbook. If it IS announced, Im gonna get me one as a treat!

Right, Im off now to make a list of “stuff”. Oh, I forgot to mention that the internet is back in our home. Great stuff, already downloaded the new series of Curb Your Enthusiasm, and a couple of BBC programmes. Australian TV at the moment is crap, to say the least! Oh, and its still sunny for those that care. 31 degrees today. 

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Dole Scum = Finished

Posted by captainbeaky on January 14, 2008

Just a quick one to let those know who I havent already spoken to/texted that I now have a  job with Boeing, starting next Monday! Good, eh?! I’ll post more details tomorrow as right now Im quite full of seafood, margaritas, beer and ice cream. Anyway…….JOBBY JOB JOB JOB!!!!

Posted in Job | 1 Comment »

Funniest Ice-Cream Ever!

Posted by captainbeaky on January 13, 2008

dsc00030.jpg

Awesome, eh? Cant wait to have a Gaytime? “Hey mate, fancy a Gaytime?”. The possibilities are endless! Whats even better than that is the follow-up line underneath the main logo (dont squint and try to read it now!) – so good, it deserves another photo, that I’ll put at the end of the post – something to look forward to!

Anyway, its been a busy couple of days. Went into Melbourne yesterday to have a mooch about. Didnt buy much as the money we have in our oz bank account is a bit tight, and while we have plenty of cash in our UK accounts to transfer, the exchange rate is utter crap at the moment, so gonna hold off. I digress. We went in search of bargains, but neither of us bought anything in the sales. Got a couple of nice cups from the posh tea place, had some very tasty and super cheap sushi, and looked around plenty of shops.  We also popped into the big pub next to the train station for some refreshment. While in there, we noticed the bartender was something of a beer expert (and looking on the website its apparently so) and asked for a  few samples. Being a new found convert to wheat beers, I asked for some recommendations, and god damn they were good. Their own brew (found nowhere else) was really nice, but my pick of the bunch was a tipple called “Beez Neez” which has a lovely honey taste. Got me a 6 pack from the offy as soon as we got back, and their chilling in the fridge as we speak. Cant wait to crack on open later! Also hired out 28 Weeks Later from the DVD store, and I thought it was ok. Not great by any means, and nowhere near as good as 28 Weeks Later, or I Am Legend. Special effects were ropey at best and the story was predictable. Having troublesome kids as the main plot device is never a good idea. It just gets annoying and you just wish they would get eaten or something. 

On the health front I feel a ton better. Dont know which tablets are doing the trick, but Im carrying on with all of them. I dont want to feel like crap this time tomorrow. Speaking of which, Im getting nervous about already. I just hope I dont panic and give stupid answers to their questions. Regardless anyway, life here is good – I really do LOVE this place. I mean, I look forward to getting the paper so I can have a stroll about. Could you ever have imagined me saying that about Kings Heath?  The weather is a positively cool 23 degrees today, but ramping up again to 37 by the end of the week. Its strange, having coped with 42, and 38 degrees the day after, it actually DOES feel cold today. Mad, after living in the UK for so long. Its also strange to go into Melbourne and compared to Birmingham, or Wolverhampton the amount of people about is miniscule. Its nice walking around the shops, and never feels crowded, or claustrophobic. Like I say, I love it here!

So on to tomorrow. Expecting the telephone engineers around between 8am and 10am, so SHOULD have internet access soon, but Im not holding my breath. Either way, I’ll be sure to make a post, either from my house or from the net cafe about how the interview went. If they want people to start next week, I would expect them to inform any of the interviewees fairly quickly if they have been successful or not. So I may know either way in 24 hours. Exciting, but at the same time scary! 

Anyhow, youve read enough waffle and droning to get to the crowning glory of ice-cream namery, so here it is. Behold and enjoy…..

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Allergies and Interviews

Posted by captainbeaky on January 11, 2008

sneeze01.jpgThe post title says it all. I dont know what got into my nose yesterday but I started sneezing like a crazy fool in the evening, followed by itchy eyes and sinus pains. Something definitely doesnt agree with me anyway. I had an early night but slept really badly and woke up at various stages with face ache (no….not Becca!). Popped into St Kilda earlier and got me some alergy relief tablets which has eased whatever is effecting me, but Im still having ot stifle the urge to sneeze every now and again. Hopefully its just a passing thing and I’ll be ok in a bit. Either that or I will have itched my eyes out and wiped the nose from my face!

 Anyway, the BIG news is…..I have the Boeing interview on Monday! Got a phone call from the agency guy yesterday saying that Boeing had just received a huge order of something, I dunno…planes….and needed people to fill the 10 positions ASAP.  The agency guy said I was available for interview and could start whenever and said that I would be ideal so they offered me the interview for Monday, 1.30pm. They said if I get it, I could be working there in as little as a week! WOOO HOOOOO!!!! All Ive got to do now is not stuff the interview up, so I hope this allergy thing has piped down by then. Doing a bit of Boeing and interview homework here at the internet cafe now so I will have plenty of reading and practising over the weekend. 

As you may have guessed, we didnt go into Melbourne on account of my rotten-ness, and the heat. To be fair, its cooled down a bit in the past few hours. Only 30 or so now, so provided I feel a bit better tomorrow, we’ll go into Melbourne then. Internet is still down, but we’re expecting a service engineer around either today (unlikely seeing as there is only 90 mins left of “working” today) or Monday. Fingers crossed there are no more stuff ups after that!

 Anyway, Im off to carry on wiping my nose until its raw, so have fun and I’ll be sure to post again over the weekend.  I have good food updates but forgot to bring my camera with me to upload the photos.  Dope!

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The “most stuff happened in least time ever” post!

Posted by captainbeaky on January 10, 2008

sculpture_wideweb__470x2800.jpgFirst post of 2008 too. OK. I dont really know where to begin. New Year has come and gone, (with the dull tediousness that it always does) and we’ve flown half way around the planet again. Should be doing wonders for my airmiles. In one year we’ve gone to Vegas and back, out to Australia, back to England, and then back to Australia again. Great for airmiles, crap for bank balance! 

I would like to say that this is the return of my daily updates, but the internet is down at our apartment. We dont even have our original phone number anymore. Its very frustrating. the telecoms companies out here seem even worse than the UK. Well, I say ALL telecoms companies, but its really Telstra’s infrastructure and inept service engineers that seem to be mucking up. The guys at Netspace (my isp) have been really helpful, but is still not fixed as its down physical phone line connections, which are rented from Telstra or so Im told. The upshot if it is that Im checking all my emails, making posts and doing a bit of surfing each day either from my phone (expensive) or going to a net cafe and using my Mac there.  Cheap rates and its got air con.

 Ok, so I’ll draw a line under whats gone before and just start from today. Went for my aptitude test at Boeing (well, actually at an aptitude test company, but its for the Boeing job) and it went really well. Well, at least I think it did. It was a lot shorter, and easier than the behemoth I did for Toyota. Im just waiting to hear when the actual interview for the job will be now. It better be soon as I was told they wouldnt be interviewing after this week! 

Secondly, its bloody roasting hot here today. 42ºC! Its not unbearable, but I guess it would be if you were out in it all day. As it is, this net cafe is wonderfully air conditioned so its lovely. Probably off to get an ice cream or something after this, to cool down once we’re outside. Its a shock to the system after the -8ºC-ness of Birmingham over Christmas. Still…..its a nice shock!

Had some tasty tea last night – on passing the fishmongers/chippy we spied stuffed (with rice, prawns and chilli’s) squid so decided to by a couple. $10 each. Thats about £4 for the uninitiated – and god damn were they nice! The standard of food out here, and the quality is superb. Popped into the offy at the end of the street and asked if they had anything like Kronenbeg Blanc (I developed quite a taste for it over Xmas) but they didnt stock it. However, they put me onto a couple of imported Belgium white beers they do have in, and if they arent tastier than Blanc! Bloody lovely! And they go down a treat in this hot weather. 

On the games front, I came back from the UK with Assassins Creed, Conan, and Tomb Raider Anniversary (as well as some DS games I mentioned in previous posts), the last 2 of which I picked up in the sales. Ive only played Conan so far, and Im mightily impressed. Its basically, God of War on 360. Quick Time Events, mythical beasts, different weapon techniques and combos etc…. Its actually pretty impressive. For £20 that is. I dont think I would ever buy it full price but its well worth a punt at half price. Recommended! 

Had a look through the local rag here yesterday and found The Wombats and Maximo Park are out here in March. Cant wait – next time we go into town we’ll definitely be getting tickets. Speaking of which, it may be tomorrow. Dependent upon the weather really – I wasnt at all tempted today to go strolling through the city today, in this heat, and in a suit! the forecast is for this hot snap to run into tomorrow as-well so may give it a miss until it cools down. It will be a decidedly cold 24ºC on Saturday so might pop in then. 

Anyway, I’ll keep you all posted on whats happening here. It may not be everyday (until my net access is fixed) but it will be more often than its been. Can I just thank everyone at this stage, for your messages of sympathy and support. I dont know how I would have coped with the turbulent past few months if it werent for your kind words, helping me, and my family get through a terrible time. Thanks again. 

 And for those that arent aware, you can leave me a message for me at any time by clicking on the “Comments” icon at the bottom right of any post. You may be telling me Im gay for buying Conan, or that  I should shutup about it being so hot. Either way, Im not fussed – just comment!. And dont worry, its secure, spam protected and every one has to go through me before its displayed. So get commenting! 

Posted in Drink, Food, Friends, Games, internet, Job, Music, Oz | 1 Comment »

Random Stuff

Posted by captainbeaky on December 22, 2007

easter-card_1.jpgPut “random stuff” into Google Images and this photo popped up, which made me smile, so it stays.

Just a little bit of an update on things. Went into Brum today to pick up our flight tickets. Also booked our seats online too so all is well on that front. Got an email about the Boeing job too, booking me in for an aptitude test on the 10th of January. Another 90 minutes of fun and hilarity to look forward too….

Also got an email back from my GP saying that he’s sent the letter of referral to the cardiologist, so Im just waiting for him to book me in for an appointment, hopefully in the 1st week for January, as planned. Any later and Im screwed as I’ll be back in Melbourne.  

Hopefully, today will also be the last time I venture in consumer-world until after Christmas. Really didnt enjoy strolling around Brum today. However, Ive already seen a couple of things that I wouldnt mind picking up in the online sales (yes a few of them HAVE already started) so I cant totally switch off over the coming days. No matter. Sitting on the sofa checking out Amazon is a bit easier and less stressful than fighting the hordes in Birmingham.  

 After watching todays Jamie Oliver Christmas special thingy, Im now really keen to try goose. He made it look extremely tasty and the fat makes tasty roasties too!  

Posted in Food, Health, Job, Oz | Leave a Comment »

Friends, Jobs, Rubbish Banks & Kettles!

Posted by captainbeaky on December 20, 2007

coffeemaker080607_468x545.jpgIts been a long time since my last post and a lots happened. Firstly, we had a great weekend with friends. Had a nice meal in, on thursday night (tasty croutons laura!) and a great curry on friday night. Hired out Sunshine from Blockbuster on saturday (very good film – recommended) and stayed around another friends for “super-sunday” and caught both of the big footy matches. Had a really good time just being around our friends again, chatting and catching up. Its certainly one thing we REALLY miss about being in Australia. Have such a great bunch of friends over here and it will be hard to leave them behind. Again!

Whilst spending time over our mates, we sat and lost our selves in the mind sapping gaze of QVC, the shopping channel. Shockingly, we saw something apparently great on there, called the Tefal Quick Cup. Basically, its a hot water boiler crossed with a kettle. You fill the back resevoir thingy with water, then whenever you want hot water, you press the button, and an element in the neck, heats the water there (as you can see from the diagram above!) and then and into your cup. I mean, for me, its completely revolutionary. No more waiting for kettles to boil. No more hanging around while it bubbles away. If you want a cuppa, its as quick as getting water from the tap. Well…….that was the plan! After finding it £15 cheaper than anywhere else at Argos, we bought one. And, it kinda doesnt work. It DOES boil water on demand. It DOES fill your cup up to a level of your setting. It DOES actually boil the water and not just leave it tepid, as some reviews have suggested. However it also DOES splatter boiling water in a 15cm radius all around the cup too. Not the most clean OR safe thing ever! Tried cleaning the nozzle, changing the filter, leaving it to cool down. Nope! So took it back to Argos today and got a replacement which while better than the 1st one, STILL splatters boiling water everywhere. So….the dream is over! Back to Argos for a refund and wait for Tefal Quick Cup 2.0!  The dreary monotony of conventional water heating awaits….

Job news is that interviews HAVE started back up again for the Boeing position. The agency guy is still hopeful that I will have a good chance of getting one of the jobs on offer on my return, and Boeing are willing to wait for me to get back for an interview. So weve spent a few stressful hours today trying to get a flight back home for a reasonable price. And failed. the resonable price that is – we did get a flight but at a ridiculously extortionate price. Managed to get one from Birmingham, with Emiriates again, on Sunday the 6th of Janurary. Pained me to give them my card details, but if it means I have a shot at this job, I suppose theres nothing I can do. Just a hard pill to swallow.

Went to see the doc a few days ago and he told me my blood test results are fine. Cholesterol, blood pressure, blood fats and sugars etc…. are all well within limits.  However, my family history for heart trouble is terrible so Im trying to see if he will refer me to a specialist. Thanks to a friend (cheers Mark!) a cardiologist is ready to go, but the GP is whinging on about having everyones medical records involved. Knowing how fast these people work, I dont hold out much hope of this happening until well into 2008, which is too late for me. Oh well, I sent the GP an email yesterday pleading for him to send the referral letter ASAP, but Ive had no reply yet. Nevermind, if I cant get it done here, I can always get it done in Melbourne. At a price though :o(

Im sure Ive probably forgotten a ton of other stuff thats gone on, but my mind is drawing a blank at the moment. If I think of anything exciting, I’ll be sure to post it.  Oh – I managed to pick up an awesome buy at HMV – 3 Ray Harryhausen, Sinbad films on DVD for £9! Superb – it isnt Christmas without a Harryhausen movie or 2!

And another thing I forgot. Barclays bank  – avoid. Ive recently had a terrible experience in the Wolverhampton Centre branch. Cutting a long story short, it took 45 minutes, £20 and much frustration just to give Becca some of MY money from MY account that Ive had for nearly 20 years. Who would have known that its common for Barclays to require you to queue in the Foreign Exchange area to transfer money from one UK account to another UK account!?! Backwards Bank more like! Bank transfer cost £20, but a bankers draft costs £10. Want one of those instead? “Sorry, you’ll have to see one of our personal bankers for that”! Of which there is only 1 present. And they already have 3 people in a queue waiting for them. Also, for whatever reason, they also decided that multiple passwords werent safe enough for their online banking service. No sirree! Now, theyve sent me out a stupid farty little calculator thing that I have to put my card in the top and it gives me a password. WHAT!?!? Is this the 1940’s? Is this the new Enigma Machine? Is this what 50 odd years of passowords/code making has come too. Pathetic little calculator bollocky things?!? Grow up! Barclays can stick it up their backwards arses – the accounts are closing. Get your money from some other sap so you can make more Enigma calculators.  They’ll be sending all my statements out by pigeons at this rate. 

See how the idiots in this country make me cross again! Grrrrrrrrrr!  

Posted in Film, Friends, Gadgets, Health, Job, UK | Leave a Comment »

The Job & Phone (& Soup) Edition

Posted by captainbeaky on December 13, 2007

boeing-logo.jpgFurther to my previous update, Ive received my new phone, and Im really loving it. Compared to my old N73, its really fast, interface wise. The menu’s are slick, but dont have as many configurable items as the Nokia. The camera is really nice and is simple to use and quick to start up. One of the best thigns about this phone are the soft keys just under/on the screen. Unlike most phones which have a “Select” and “Back” keys just under the left and right corners of the screen, this phone has 3 little dots that are on the screen. So instead of actually pressing buttons for on screen prompts, you just touch the glass. It works really well and feels, like sort of futuristic! Only downside I can see so far is that the keypad will take some getting used to. 

Soup Update: It (Covent Gardens stilton, onion and white port Christmas Edition soup) was very nice! Better than the Broccoli and Stilton. Less stodgy and more creamy.

Also recieved some good news about the Boeing job I applied for in Australia many moons ago. Theyve completed their internal testing (which sounded pretty unsuccessful) and the agency guy Ive been talking to has informed them of my current situation, and “theyre more than happy to wait until next year to interview me”. Sounds like good news. If therye willing to wait, it must be an indication that they think Im suitable for the job. The only word I have at the moment is that they will probably be conducting interviews during the 2nd week of January. They’ll email me with specifics late his week/early next. Wooo Hooooooo!

 No updates after this until at least Sunday (16th) as we’re spending a bit of time visiting friends. Should be a good few days. Ciao for now, you big fat cow! 

Posted in Food, Gadgets, Job | Leave a Comment »

Here I Am! Rock You Like a Hurricane!

Posted by captainbeaky on November 14, 2007

14112007378.jpgDidnt do much (again) today. Popped into town to sort out my Medicare stuff, and got $300 refunded. Not a lot, but better than a slap across the face. Did some checking to see if I could get Assassins Creed early but failed. However, we did manage to pick up a 2nd guitar for Guitar Hero 3, and I must say it improves things no end. Guitar Hero is SO much more a social party game than just a single player experience. Playing with others is just so much more fun, and it feels less “unfair” than standard career mode. 

I did dabble with playing some of the songs on hard but its just ridiculous. If you thought Guitar Hero 2 was hard, this is probably twice as hard as that. I struggled on hard on some of the early songs, and the later ones get silly with multiple 3 chord noodling, right up and down the fret. And in an “ordinary” game, I might persevere to get past a particularly hard bit, I really cant be bothered with this. For me, this is not really a game, its more like an experience. Like a fun fair ride if you will. I dont want to play on hard, and listen to a half butchered version of whatever song playing, JUST so I have bragging rights to say I beat the game on hard. Id rather play the song on medium, have it play back with the majority of the song in tune, and enjoy it. And once I’d got this mentality on my head, Im enjoying the game a LOT more. Unlocked some of the bonus songs and some of them are amazing!  Theres one song by a German band called “Die Toten Hosen” (or something) with a song called “Hier Komt Alex“, that is just fantastic euro-rock at its best. Brings a smile to my face whenever I play it and one of the all time best Guitar Hero songs Ive played. So there you go – I cant be arsed getting all of the “macho” achievements as they require you to do ridiculous things that only a sadist would attempt (beat a song on expert, 5 star it, with no sound on, using a normal xbox controller?!?!) Thats just a thing that twats would brag about on forums – why would you bother? This game remains in my collection to put a smile on my face – nothing more. And its doing its job brilliantly!

Im also pretty excited by the rumours of a new ultra-small macbook coming in January. The only thing that bugs me about my existing macbook is its weight. Its pretty heavy for a 13″ machine, and could do with being a bit smaller too. Fingers crossed the rumours are true.  

However, fall of the joys of getting new games, and researching new gadgets., I just with I had a job now. The lack of human contact, and the lack of focus in my life starting to grate. I mean, its been nearly a year now since I did any “proper” work and while it sounds great, I feel like my brain is starting to rot. I just wish I could hear some positive news from Holden, or Boeing. THAT would be the best Christmas present this year. But dont think that Im being down, and morose. Far from it – Im staying positive, and getting on with things. Get 8 emails a day come through with new jobs available. Just a matter of picking the right one. After realising from several agencies, that Im “worth” £28k – £30k, I dont want to jump at the first job offering me £20k. Its a waiting game unfortunately. 

Not a clue what we are up to tomorrow. Waiting and hoping the internet is sorted. Its been awful today.  Sorry that most of the updates seem to be game related, but if we dont do much, thats all I have to talk about! 

Posted in Games, Job, Nothing | 2 Comments »