Category Archives: Life

Hello from Norway

View of Tromsø from Mount Stor­stei­nen (421m) – click for larger view.


This is the view from the top of the Cable Car on Mount Stor­stei­nen (421m/1381ft) near Tromsø, Norway. The island in the centre of the picture is Tromsøya which is where Tromsø is situated. At almost 70° north, Tromsø is 217 miles north of the Arctic Circle and the biggest European city in the extreme north.

I have been fascinated by Scandinavia and the extreme north for some time, but until now I had only visited Oslo (Norway), Stockholm and Arvika (Sweden). The opportunity came where I had some time between jobs and the flight prices were reasonable enough to consider it. It is a very very beautiful place and it fulfils my quest of being cold – It has not been above 10°C (50°F) the whole time I have been here, the average summer temperature is not much higher.

I suppose I should be proud of myself recently, for despite some issues, I managed to finish a contract job and hand over to someone who is taking the job on permanently. However, recently I have had a lot of pain my back and so I go to my GP to ask for help – is almost immediate reaction is “you are overweight”. Cheers for that, I couldn’t have seen it myself! 42% of men in the UK are overweight (BMI >25 <30) and 24% are obese (BMI >30 <40).

If this is the truth, then I have no idea how I am going to tackle this, I have enough on my plate to worry about as it is, without feeling anxious about every crumb that passes my lips. Yes the pain might be relieved if I lose weight and maybe I will have better diabetes control if I lose weight, but I do not consider myself to have a problem in the general scheme of things. My BMI is 29.7.

It is very easy for anyone sitting there to say “you can do this” and “don’t give up”, but they don’t understand what that is like for me. Being different is hard, end of story. You then add in having a disease that you have to treat multiple times per day which if you did not treat could leave you blind or seriously disabled then basically you are screwed. When I first realised I had diabetes, it wasn’t such a huge deal and I could cope with it fairly well. But back then, I needed far less insulin to reduce my sugar levels to what they should be. You should not confuse this as being a weight issue like Type 2 diabetes – the longer you have Type 1, the more likely it is you will more insulin, there is often a so-called “honeymoon period” when someone is first diagnosed, this may last from a few months to a few years. Also you must remember that the cause of my diabetes was damage to my pancreas by pancreatitis, the longer this has gone on, the more damage that has been done. I would be surprised if I had any beta cells now, these are the cells in the pancreas that make insulin.

Every day I become more depressed about life in the UK – whether it be from the way the poor and disabled are being treated by the government, the rise of UKIP and right-wing views, destruction of the NHS and the welfare state or the increase in hate crimes against people who dare to be different. I want to leave these islands and find somewhere that is better, but as fast as I am trying to do that – I hear that perhaps it’s not all as rosy as I thought it was elsewhere. It seems the march of the far right in Europe has stepped up a pace recently and I fear we may not be far from similar events to those of 75 years ago when WW2 started.

The reality is this: if my GP does think that there is nothing other to my back pain than weight, then it will be very hard to get a referral to a specialist who might have further insight or be able to use better imaging techniques to work out what is going on. A plain x-ray has been done but I will not know the result until next week. Also I think from a money-saving point of view (which the NHS has been trying to do for many years) then blaming and shaming the patient is a very easy way for them to save money. I pay taxes and in return I expect to have free healthcare, a welfare state to support people in times of need and to be treated equally and fairly by my government. THIS IS NOT HAPPENING.

I do not know what to do anymore, except that I will probably continue treading the boards until something strikes me down and takes me out. Please let it be soon.

Do recruiters actually read my CV?

So today I got an email from a recruiter, about a job they are trying to fill:

Dear Seth,

My client based in Kent are looking for a 2nd/3rd Line Engineer for an initial 6 month contract based within the public sector paying up to £180 per day.

The successful candidate will be responsible for analysing complex and inter-linked IT system / NPfIT issues (e.g. hardware, networking, system etc.) and ensuring that they are resolved effectively.

You will be required to analyse and assess GP Practice staff IT requirements and ensure that hardware and software are appropriately configured.

The post holder will need to demonstrate specialist theoretical and practical knowledge and experience in the following areas:

· Windows NT/2000/2003/2008/2008R2 server;

· Microsoft Server virtualization

· Microsoft Windows (95/98/2000/XP/Vista/7 etc.);

· Microsoft Office products including Outlook and Exchange;

· Anti-Virus software;

· LAN’s, WAN’s, networking protocols, routers, bridges and switches.

· VOIP LAN management

· VOIP Server virtualization

Please send me you CV ASAP if you are available to interview immediately and start within a week.

With regards,

Great, eh? Someone wants to pay me £180/day to do all that cool stuff? [£180/day equates to more than £46,000/year] Well hold on just a second there, because if you haven’t ever been paid that much or ever done that level of job in IT, you can hardly expect to jump straight into that level of salary. Even if you do have some experience in all of those areas.

So really its not fair, its a bit like dangling a lolly-pop in front of a kid and then taking it away saying “come back when you’re 21”. I would like a job, but I would like to keep that job, so trying too hard and promising things I can’t do is probably just going to get me right back to where I am now, feeling depressed and miserable because I have no money and no prospects. I am good at what I do, but I can’t seem to convince anyone else about that…

What to do next?

As some of you might know I have recently been offered medication as treatment for my ADHD. This is kinda the answer to the requests for help that have often dominated this blog, sometimes in a rather graphic way, including this post, this post, this post and this post.

I was originally diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome and ADHD aged 17, nearly every time I have asked for help from mental healthcare professionals the Asperger’s Syndrome has dominated the conversations with little attention paid to the ADHD. When I was at school this wasn’t picked up because (a) it was the early 1990’s and nothing much was known about Asperger’s other than classical Autism and (b) I was rowdy, but generally a good student. You could often describe me as “the class clown”, I had my good days and bad days, but in the subjects I was good at I did want to learn.

In the UK and especially within the NHS, the idea that ADHD can exist in adults is often considered as nonsense. ADHD is a childhood disorder and ends when children grow up, Ritalin the main drug used to treat it, isn’t even officially licensed for use in adults; so the idea that someone could go through their childhood without being diagnosed with ADHD and then expect treatment as an adult is preposterous! I have seen at least 5 psychiatrists, probably more who have told me this and therefore refused to even consider treating me or referring me to someone who could help – despite there being a specialist clinic at the Maudsley Hospital in South London.

So last week I was amazed when I went to see Dr Trevor Turner a psychiatrist with East London NHS Trust who within a 30 minute appointment confirmed the ADHD diagnosis and then agreed to write to my GP asking him to prescribe Ritalin to me. I had to pinch myself to make sure I wasn’t dreaming, I never thought it would be so easy. At present I am waiting for Dr Turner’s letter to get to my GP, so I haven’t taken the medication yet.

The question is, after 17 years of dropping out of courses, jobs and generally being depressed and thinking things would never get better, if the Ritalin works and I get my concentration back, what do I do? The worst times started when I realised I couldn’t finish the university course I started in 2005, and although I tried again twice after that it never quite worked out, mostly because I couldn’t concentrate to get the work done.

So, do I go back to University? I am thinking that if things have improved by September then I might enrol on an Access to HE course (which I did try once before, but gave up on) at a local college in East London. If that works out at least I will have completed something since I was 16!

Of course I could be completely wrong – even with the drugs I might be not able to do it. I dunno, the trouble is that I am 31 now and not getting any younger. Do I want to loose another 4 years of my life?! I wish I had a time machine…

So things are getting better and I hope they will continue to do so, even if no-one wants to give me a job at the moment!

Living in London

So I am now living in London with my old friend Ben A’Lee in a nice flat in Hackney, which isn’t the murders and rapist playground that people imagine. Hackney is a pretty up and coming place these days, just at the end of our road is the north-west corner of the Olympic Park and we can see the media/press centre being built from our window! I have gotten to know the area quite well and apart from free cash machines being a 20 minute walk away, all is good.

Last week I was quite shocked when someone actually offered me a job! Its been so long (15 months or so) since I have worked that I had really forgotten what it was like to be able to get work! I shall be working for a company called “Samvo” who provide online gambling services. They are very big in the Far East apparently, but most things are run from London. It will be a combination of Windows and Linux Systems Administration and I am quite looking forward to starting on 23/08/2010. My only issue is that my commute (the job is in West London) is about 1hr each way, although I guess that is London for you! Formerly prospective employers in the North West didn’t want to know if I told them I had no car or that it would take me an hour on the train to get to their office, so just shows you how things are different here.

I have just spent about 2hrs trying to migrate my lighttpd configuration back to apache, mostly because there are quite a few things you can’t do with lighttpd… If you are trying to get things working, make sure that your browsers cache isn’t caching your fails, otherwise things will take you twice as long – including firefox caching the fact that its being sent php before its been processed and therefore trying to download it!

Well I think I should try to sleep for a bit, got to get up in 2hrs to go to Royal London Hospital and hopefully have the rest of my tooth removed!

Updates to last post

In my last post I talked about how I was struggling with assignments and had difficulty accessing the JANET UK Univesrsity Roaming Service. I am glad to say that I have now finished the assignment I was struggling with and that I have resolved the issues I was having with Roaming.

I think the main issue with the Assignment – which was to write a report about a Engineer/Technologist who had made a significant impact on society, was that I had tried to go too deep. No word limit was specified and although pointers were specified about the sort of information required I didn’t really know how much detail to write about each bit.

Anyway, its all over now and I just have to get an assignment done for a module called “Product Realisation” which is about how the electronics industry actually works. I have 2 circuit diagrams and I have to copy them into a SPICE simulation package called Multisim, then do the PCB layout in Ultiboard (which is part of the same package as Multisim).

This is a fairly easy task, but unfortunately Multisim/Ultiboard are not available off campus due to licensing restrictions and the licenses are a bit difficult to bypass. But I have until 17th December to do that, so I expect it will be OK in the end. Incidentally Multisim is a very bad package and my tutor says he was once given a spec for a military project which specifically said “DO NOT USE MULTISIM!”

The issue with the Roaming Service was that I had my wireless driver set to verify the certificate provided, clearly something dodgy is going on at Bolton, because there instructions specifically say to turn off certificate verification! Again this is another example of how bad a University it is and how it has become too big for its boots! Never enough computers available for use, very small library and a general penny pinching attitude – we’ll try and get as many students on a course as we can, never mind if its booked for a room where there aren’t enough computers or we don’t have enough licenses for the software they are using!

I will try to decide in a few months time what to do next, weather to stick around or take my credits and go somewhere else…

Trying to get Assignments done!

So, I guess we all (Students) have this problem, assignment x is due on date y, Time is now y-4 and it isn’t done! Like I said back in “Hello from Newcastle“, these things are difficult for me.

I think that the latest batch of undergradates are probably members of the ADD generation – not that they have ADD, but more that life has too many distractions. Facebook, Myspace, IM, email, texts… we can now access these services anywhere at any time. Nearly everyone has a laptop or some kind of computer of their own and the temptation to go off and chat/social network is probably greatest when we are bored, but know whe have stuff to do: Procrastination. Workplaces have to block these sites because people would get no work done otherwise (not to mention the possibility of litigation).

Now I know I cannot blame anyone for this, no-one held a gun to my head and said “join Facebook” but sometimes it seems that way! I guess in these modern times our lives are bankrupt to the point where we just have to know what everyone else is doing to be happy!

Tonight I had a plan, thanks to agreements between North West Universities I am able to go to any University and use their library to study. I am also able (theoretically) to use Internet facilities of  any University in the UK that participates in the Eduroam Service. I made this choice because home is too distracting and Bolton has a very poor library with little space to study and never enough computers.

So I went to Lancaster University, because I know that there is no requirement there to show ID to get in, so no arguments with jobsworth security guards. I did do some work, approxmately 300 words about Alan Turing for an assignment due Friday, but sadly Eduroam failed. I could not logon to the system and I don’t know if this is the fault of Bolton or Lancaster, but according to JAnet their systems are supposedly up to scratch. I have emailed Bolton to ask what’s up.

Possibly this wasn’t the best of ideas, an hour’s travelling time or so each way to do 300 words, but I did do something and I suppose I should think about that rather than thinking “I can’t do this, there is no point in me remaining at University”.

Update – Summer 2008

So its been a while since I posted anything, but I thought I’d keep people updated as to what has happened in my life lately.

At the beginning of August I had to sell my car and declare myself bankrupt. I was at the point of owing £15,000 and at my current level of income that would have taken me about 10 years to pay back, plus I would have been fairly povety stricken for that duration. Given my record of finding and keeping jobs(!) I doubt that I will find myself in some great earning IT job anytime soon, despite the fact I could pretty easily do the work.

The bankruptcy is going well so far, thanks to the Co-operative Bank I have a current account with a Visa Electron debit card and a fair bit more money available to me from my benefits given that I am not having to pay back what I owed to the banks and credit card companies.

Interestingly enough the Halifax, whom I owed approximately £6,000 to, has recently been taken over by Lloyds TSB (whom I owed £1,500), apparently because the Halifax had itself become insolvent. I’d like to say that I brought down one of the biggest banking groups in Britian, but sadly I think my debt is just a drop in the ocean to them! This is just the latest in a series of banking failures here in the UK, mostly brought on by the US ‘sub prime’ loan problem and the general ‘credit crunch’. Notice that no-one will use the word recession, and according to Prime Minister Gordon Brown, “this is not boom and bust”; who is he kidding!

My personal feeling, although this is extremely controversial, is that now is the time to wipe out all debt – after all, it is really just numbers on computers. Once we have done this, we should quit lending money to people with the soul exception of mortgages. No more credit cards or unsecured loans, because I believe this is what has caused all the problems: Consumer greed, and I think we are all guilty to some extent. But who is more guilty, the people forced into borrowing money for a better lifestyle (or sometimes just an existance) or the banks who spend all their time convincing us that we should take out loans and credit cards, sometimes to the point where we can’t ignore them.

Also during August I helped with a number of Autism research studies at University College London, but missed out on a MRI scanning experiment because of a small piece of metal left in me after my Gall Bladder was removed in 2001. It seems that I will never be able to find out the full details of the clip (make, model, etc) for the paranoid radiographers who control these experiments, because the hospital where the surgery took place have ‘misplaced’ the notes relating to it.

I also took part in research for my friend Kalen at the University of Manchester, who tells me that even if she can’t use my data – my reaction times suck and I definately have ADHD! Most people who meet me for just a few minutes know that I just can’t keep still, unless I am unconcious!

Whilst I was in the North West I was asked by a friend of mine to help at his workplace with some IT stuff. This taught me a few things: that my Windows Server skills are out of date and that eToken is more complicated than you’d think! eToken is basically a authentication system similar to smart cards, but uses a device that looks very much like a USB pen drive. It can also work over networks and this was the purpose, to secure servers at a remote site.

I have decided that I am going to use some of my time over the next few months to study for the MCSA exams or Microsoft Certified Systems Administrator. This is, I know a bit of a diversion from my Linux work over the past few years, but I don’t think I have the nessecary programming experience to be a proper Linux sys-admin. I last studied for these Microsoft exams back in 2000 when I passed the “Network Essentials” exam, but the failed “Windows NT Workstation”, sadly there was no credit for Network Essentials, it was just something you had to pass at the same time. So given that, my skills on the server aspects at least of Microsoft’s operating systems is about 8 years out of date. Maybe if I can improve my skills (and I’ll have bits of paper to prove it), then I’ll have more chance of getting a job… but can I keep it?

Spending about a week working 9-5 really made me realise how little I use the time in the day, since I have been back it has been a struggle to find things to do and not to spend money fleetingly. The lack of structure has if anything made me more depressed.

Last weekend I went to the NAS International Conference in London, it was a fairly good conference and a good chance to catch up with friends that I hadn’t seen for some time. I also got to meet some fairly big names: Alex Thompson from Channel 4 News (who has an Autistic son), Jane Asher (President of the NAS and all round good cake maker) and some of the producers and writers of Holby City and the film Snow Cake. I managed to ask some good questions as well!

Next wek I will be trying to spend my time wisely by doing some work, helping with binding for a printing company in Saltash. Its a bit of a long way to go, but its only for 5 days. So hopefully I manage to work out those 5 days! I’m also signed up to help chase up and collect in the voter registration forms for Plymouth City Council, that kinda pays on a piecemeal basis apparently, £1.50 for each form collected of which I will have 300 to chase!

Until next time… rave safe kids, rave safe!

A little knowledge is a dangerous thing!

Meet Punto #3, this time an Automatic!

Punto #3

I purchased this car on the Isle of Wight, unfortunately it had been sitting around idle for about a year… A few things needed fixing for it to pass the MOT, but these were easily sorted out, the car has been legal now for about a month.

The problem started when I decided that I would treat the car to new oil, plugs, etc… I thought that changing the spark plugs was an easy job… and it would be if there was good access to them. But not in this case. In the process of changing plug #2 I cross-threaded the hole and it did not tighten correctly. For one reason or another I ignored this (probably through pride) and just forgot about it.

All was fine until about 100 miles afterwards, when suddenly I lost power in the engine and it sounded like a tractor. Initially I thought my new exhaust might have dropped off, but no the exhaust was fine. So I checked the engine… there was oil in the engine compartment where there shouldn’t be… I suspected a blown head gasket.

It was not until I started taking the cylinder head off the car that I discovered #2 spark plug just sitting in the hole, not attached… DOH! I proceeded with changing the gasket and putting everything back together. However I had trouble timing the engine. I could not get it correct however many times I tried, so I got a local mobile mechanic to help – he was here less than 20 minutes!

So at this point I have a car that will move for the first time in about a fortnight! I have a few things to do, first of all I need to get the spark plug hole sorted out so that this won’t happen again! I try to start the car, it won’t start, the battery is flat. I get a jump start and get going – only to find it won’t start the next time I park up! I decide that I must get a new battery, so head to a car parts store. New battery in the car, I head home. Whilst trying to park the car, it cuts out (highly unusual for an automatic), so I try to re-start it… it won’t start! I get a high pitched noise from the engine. For some reason I don’t suspect my new cambelt and think about the starter motor. I go indoors and call out a breakdown service, they arrive and tell me that the cambelt isn’t moving when the engine turns over and to contact the mechanic who did the work.

After they go, I check out the cambelt myself, and initially think that something might have been caught in it because I could not fit the cambelt cover securely. I find a piece of webbing wrapped in the crankshaft pulley and try to remove it. I discover to my horror that this webbing is the cambelt and it has been chewed up by the engine. No problem I thought, I still have the old cambelt which was in OK condition. I try to fit this but then discover I can’t move the camshaft and again teeth get chewed off the belt.

Mechanic calls me back to tell me that the camshaft is probably seized – when I put the new head gasket on, I must have put it on the wrong way around and blocked an oil channel from the engine block to the head, hence no oil was getting to the camshaft! I go back to the car and check the camshaft, it’s not even slippery! He was absolutely right. I killed a cylinder head and 2 cambelts because I tried to do things too quickly, thinking I knew what I was doing!

All is not lost however, because I have sourced a 2nd hand head for £25 + £9.99 shipping and Lee, my friendly mobile mechanic is going to do the work for about £60, which is was I was quoted to get the spark plug hole drilled out and re-threaded! This car is costing me a fortune, but I think most of it is my own fault, I need to slow down and not try to fix things I can’t fix like the van i got last year from eCamperVanHire.

Until next time, rave safe kids!



Well, it has been quite a while since I have blogged, there have been some good things and bad things happening, which I shall summarize here:

The Motherboard that broke on me has been repaired, although initially it came back with the part I wanted fixing unfixed, they later sent me a replacement part which I replaced myself.

I have recently acquired an automatic car (rare in the UK), with the intention of passing my driving test in an automatic. This will mean that I can only drive automatics alone, but I am willing to deal with that until I feel more confident out on the road. The car that I got was untaxed (unregistered) and had no MOT (inspection), so I had to do some work on it before I could get it legal; I replaced the front part of the exhaust and also the fuel pump, and finally got it legal and on the road last week. Now I just have to pass my drivers test!

I have been applying for a lot of jobs, mostly office admin and alike, however I haven’t got very far. So far I think I have been rejected by at least 10 of the jobs I applied for. I have had 1 interview and 2 more lined up. I suspect the problem is that my habit of not keeping jobs for very long is catching up with me, so my references are bad.

For a while I have been thinking about getting a pet, originally wanting a cat… but since I live in a shared house I thought it might be quite difficult to keep an animal that likes to roam, plus one of our friends who likes to visit has a cat allergy! So I compromised and decided to get some rats instead. I have never really had a problem with rodents, I had mice in a previous flat (as in an infestation rather than a pet!) and although I had to kill them, it didn’t make me afraid of being there. So I have ordered a cage and some stuff, once this arrives I am going to obtain 2 male rats and call them Steve McQueen and James Dean; two actors/racing car drivers who died before their time… and yes, I did get the idea from House.

My run in with the Police seems to be over, they have decided not to prosecute me and have returned all of the computer equipment that they confiscated.

Finally this week I am working for a local software house doing some testing of a new version of their software… I don’t think I am doing too well, it seems very abstract to me, I am sitting here not really sure what to do – the fact that a lot of what I am doing doesn’t work correctly doesn’t help!

I am starting to wonder if I am in love with the idea of having a job, rather than actually wanting to do a job. Every job I have tried recently has ended in failure because I get there and then I get bored and tired after a while. I can’t cope with boredom too well, unless that boredom is self-induced!

I think what I need in a job is for it to be well structured and have enough breaks for me not to get too tired; i.e. part time. Trouble is that not a lot of employers are so willing to help in that respect.

Oh well, I hope I can sustain this or Dan (who got me the job) will be very pissed…

Until next time, rave safe kids – rave safe!


Damm Motherboard

This is my motherboard, which is broken.

Where the red circle is, there should be a bit of plastic which sticks out, just like the one on the other side. These points allow you to clip the heatsink down onto the processor (the gray square), to ensure good contact between the two.

I contacted the company I brought it from, they have told me they will not take it back basically because they think I am a nube and broke it. I did not break it, it broke by itself. I have been building PC’s for 10 years and I have an A+ qualification. I DO know what I am doing!

So I have now contacted the manufacturer, who are supposedly regarded as one of the best motherboard manufacturers. I await to hear what they say. Even if they could send me a new plastic bit (its only held down with screws), that would be nice.

But being me – generally a very impatient person, I decided to get a new, but much cheaper motherboard, because I cannot stand the old PC I have, and don’t have any compatible parts to make the shiny new one – which I only built in September, work.

I’ll let you know what happens re the current motherboard. If anyone has a broken AM2 motherboard where that plastic part is intact and would like to give/sell it to me, please contact me.

The problem with ADD

So I think I have finally figured it all out; no, not the answer to the great question about life, the universe and everything, that would be 42! What I have I finally realised is why I have so much potential (or at least people keep telling me that I do) but fail to use any of it.

About three weeks ago I re-enrolled on 2 modules that I failed 2 years ago when I took the Foundation Year in Technology the first time. So I am back to being a student at the University of Plymouth; the computers may have gotten faster, but they broke the Intranet system!

Hurray for me; so why so glum, you ask?!

When I was a kid, I had trouble learning maths, tables would never stick in my head, I would always use a calculator when I could. You’re probably saying “but most kids do that!”. Well giving into the calculator is fine when you’re just adding up a few numbers, but when you are trying to factorise quadratic equations or solve simultaneous equations, you kinda wish you hadn’t given so easily.

Maths is the foundation of the Universe, it is also the foundation of electronics, communications and every form of engineering. Everything I want to do over the next 5 years relies on maths. So the fact that I can’t do maths at around high school level is a problem.

I said this was about all of my problems not just maths, right? Well I give in too easily, so therefore I never exercise my brain enough to keep it going. So my brain atrophies and I get more frustrated that I can’t learn new stuff and get past this foundation year.

You know what the biggest problem of all is? Doctor’s don’t believe me, apparently I do not have ADD and all of my problems can be explained by Asperger’s. Maybe I just didn’t explain myself properly or perhaps I come across as someone who might abuse stimulant drugs. I don’t know, but my suspicion is that Adult ADD is just too controversial for the British National Health Service (certainly at a local level here in Plymouth) and so I will never get referred to someone who actually knows what they are talking about – something I have been asking for for the last two years, ever since my trip to Newcastle.

Perhaps the worst thing is that I can’t put the required effort into CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) because I give up and think its a load of BS! So I can’t cure myself of my wanting a silver bullet for the ADD or the giving up on everything.

So I am going to try again to keep going and not loose hope in my course and myself, but its hard. When I was younger I didn’t give in so easily, but now I guess I give in before I have really tried most things.

Perhaps getting this out there will give me some hope, but I doubt it…

First time tequila…

…the room won’t stop spinning! Someone help me.

That was 2am, now its nearly 6am I have slept for a couple of hours and can’t get back to sleep!

I was out for a quiet drink with my housemates and then bumped into a couple of people from my course at Uni (which was nearly 2 years ago now!). The upshot of it was that I got brought lots of beer and then a shot of tequila, complete with salt and lemons!

They suggested I go back to University and try to do the course I originally wanted to do – computer systems and networks. Whilst I know I have the brain to do the work, I have this alter ego, lets call him Mr ADHD, that likes to get in the way of doing that work. My original plan was to try and get treatment for that and THEN go back to University. Well, two years after being suicidal because I couldn’t get the work I knew I could do done, I’m STILL waiting for some kind of treatment for that, although I have seen 2 shrinks now!

So, what do you think? Continue the search for mindless annoying jobs or go back to Uni?

New Job Update – Week 1

So I completed week one of my new job. At least it didn’t go as badly as the last job I had when I didn’t show after the first day!

It started off with listening to some calls on Monday and then on Tuesday the training got underway, a lot of stuff I knew already from my technical experience and working in call centres in the past, today the training ended and I got to take calls for real.

Now they didn’t drop me in the deep end, I did have a buddy with me who was helping me, but what I didn’t realise is how stupid 80% of the people who call in are and how they use aggression to try and cover that.

When I worked my last call centre job I was doing fairly simple tasks, all I had to do was get information out of people about their cell phones, their name/address and their credit card details so that I could register their phone. Trying to talk someone who has no clue about computers how to troubleshoot problems is a whole ‘nother ballgame.

I really don’t know if I can keep doing it. I have come home every night this week physically exhausted, I have to get up at 7am and then ride the bus for 30-45mins to get to work for 8:50 and then take calls for 8hrs, although I get a 1hr lunch break. That’s a 40hr week, 9am-6pm 5 days per week. Most jobs in the UK are 37.5hrs per week. In France, you can’t be forced to work more than 35hrs per week!

I know what everyone is going to say, don’t make a mess of this, don’t run off… but I am finding it very difficult to suppress those feelings. I should probably put more into it, but I really don’t feel like being abused because someone isn’t smart enough to go to a book store or a library and get a simple book on Windows XP or Vista – there are enough titles out there!

So should I:
[A]   Stick it out next week and see what happens.
[B]   Call/Email in Monday, say I am sick or I can’t do it any more.
[C]   Wait for my replacement Visa card to arrive and take a spur-of-the moment trip to Denver.

Maybe you can decide for me, but I can’t guarantee I’ll take your advice! 😀

A Day of Success!!

Well today was a great day, first off I got up at a reasonable time – 9am, not like last week when I was lucky to be asleep by that time! Then I had to go to an interview, the job – which I saw advertised through an Agency is with InfoTeam who have the contract to repair and provide technical support to customers of Acer equipment, including PC’s, Laptops and other IT paraphernalia! The interview went well, I was able to answer their questions really easily and I felt comfortable.

The great news was that about 2hrs after the interview, I was told I got the job and start on Monday at 9am!

Later I went to take the first of the CompTIA A+ exams, which is a qualification to show that you can fix computer hardware and software and provide technical support.

I passed that as well, the required score was 675 and I got 750 out of 900! So now I have to take part 2, I have a choice of Phone Support, In Person Support or never talking to a customer back room stuff!

Tonight we (as in TermiSoc) shall be going out for a curry to celebrate the 21st birthday of our great comrade, Ben A’Lee. He was actually 21 two weeks ago, but everyone was busy back then!

It has been a great day and I am definitely feeling better about myself!

A great Birthday, thanks!

Today I am 27, staring down the barrel at 30 I know, but at least I am still here!

Yesterday I had the official celebration of my birthday with my friends from TermiSoc. Ben, Dan, Ed, Gem, Chrissy, Rich and myself went up to Dartmoor where we had a picnic! We got rained on a bit, messed around with the the smallest tent known to man that Ed had brought for £10 in Lidl, played catch with a very heavy dog ball that we found in the river and finally ate cheese and biscuits whilst sitting around in waterproofs trying not to get blown away!

Then we drove back to Plymouth, I fell asleep for a few hours and nearly missed the next part, a curry at the Baba curry house! Well, it was very busy in there and we sat around waiting for at least half an hour before they gave us a table and then we had to wait ages for our main course to come out! Fortunately they gave us a free round of drinks, which was nice!

After that we went back to Rich and Chrissy’s house where we watched the original Star Wars film (the first time I had seen it in whole).

Sadly whilst walking back from there we encountered some drunk idiot who seemed to keep wanting to kick me and Dan from behind, we managed to loose him but not without first sustaining some brusing.

Got home around 2:30am.

Thanks very much to everyone for a great time!

New Bed – Its Shagadelic Baby!!

So today my new bed arrived, this was a huge upgrade for me because I have been sleeping on the awful single divan bed provided by my landlord for like the last 18 months. A few months ago I borrowed a mattress from a friend for a friend to sleep on whilst he visited, then after he went I started using it because there was no indication of when it was needed back, until last week.


Above, pics of the two parts of the landlords bed!

So I went back to the landlord’s matress a week ago and I woke up after only a few hours sleep, so much pain was my back in! So I decided that was it, I had to get a new bed.

Today it arrived and the difference is amazing I think I might end up turning into Sleeping Beauty or Rapunzel! – Why can there be no storys about guys who sleep forever only to be woken by a princess?!

Just After Completion.

Overall vue of my Bedroom with Old Glory on the wall!

Lovely new Duvet set from House of Fraiser.

So all I need now is a lovely lady to try it out with!! If only finding a gal was as easy as building a bed!

Until next time – Rave Safe Kids!

Weird Neighbours…British Style!

This is kinda in reference to my friend Georga’s (or Spork as she likes to go by) series of blogs on her Mexican neighbours, who seem to like their shovels. You can read her latest blog here.

I like in an old house that was converted into two flats (appartments), both flats have a kitchen, bathroom, living room and one bedroom. I live on the ground floor (first floor to your Americans). Until Easter my upsairs Neighbours were a Portugese family, who although they didn’t speak much English, they didn’t give me much trouble either. I got on well with them and last summer they fed me at their BBQ and I was introduced to their Portugese friends who were able to translate a bit for me! I had been selling them a portion of my broadband bandwidth and they unfortunately used most of it to download films from eDonkey, so I was slightly glad that they weren’t around to do that anymore.
Anyway, they moved out just before Easter – the reason being that this house doesn’t really have any proper heating, and the heaters that we do have are electric and cost a lot of money to run. So they were cold and moved to a new flat with better heating, I can’t blame them for that and I wish them the all the best in their new place.

My new neighbours moved in soon after Easter. They are two men, both in their 50’s – John (an American who appears to have lived in this country for some time) and Norman (a native of Plymouth). Now I have to admit that I was slightly confused when this happened – why would two guys of this age choose to be flatmates? Well I know that they aren’t gay, so I assume its probably because they don’t have much money.

Where does all their money go you may be wondering? Well, we can pretty much assume that their surplus income goes on Alcohol. Both of them appear to be alcoholics – although John appears to be the one who doesn’t know his limits.

I have had many problems with them lately, including playing very crap music very loudly and having my recycling strewn all over the street. However, the thing that worries me the most is that they have aquired a very old IBM Aptiva PC. Unfortunately, they know that I am an Electrical Engineering Major, so who else are they gonna ask for help?

Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t actually mind giving people help with their PC’s, I have a lot of friends who I know from the Internet and most of them have come to me for help in the past when their PC’s have gone wrong. I have travelled all over the UK to fix computers, you might think of me as the 21st century version of the Knight in Shining Armour!

But when you don’t really know the people who you asking for your help and you don’t really want to know them, when they smoke and drink and talk crap to you, how do you say NO?

I am not good with confrontation, especially with people who I don’t know and the fact that they drink makes me even more worried. I chose to say nothing to them about the recycling issue and when the noise got too much I went out for the day. But I live here and I can’t keep running away, can I?

Well, at least I will have a nice break from them from next week, I’ll be in New York and Phildelphia to see my friend Gina and go to Autreat.


I was drinking a bottle of powerade today when for some stupid reason I opened the sports cap with my front teeth instead of my back teeth. I have a crown on one of my front teeth, I was involved in a playground accident when I was 7 and lost part of it. Sadly part of the crown broke off.

Now this would be OK if I had a dentist in Plymouth, but I don’t. My dentist is 170miles away, back home in Southampton. I am pinning my hopes on the Dental Access Centre here in Plymouth, I have an appointment there at 12noon on Friday and I really hope they can fix it. I looked at private dentists in Plymouth (there are no NHS dentists who are taking on new patients), it would probably cost in the region of £400-£500, scary thought! I think I’d rather go back to Southampton to get it fixed!

I hope you weren’t too scared by those pics!

Gill Bridge

Ok, so perhaps this is slightly morbid or in bad taste, but for those of you who have never been to County Durham, let alone Consett, here are some pics I found of Gill Bridge. The credit goes to the website Postcards From Consett And District.

As you can see it is very high and dominating on the landscape. I assume these pictures must be very old, as in the second one a train is going over – the railway line was taken up in 1953.