Sunday, July 30, 2006

Boy vs Girl

Oooh, been a while since last posting, but there's not much going on at the moment... This is only a brief update until tomorrow, when I'll actually have some news - it's the launch of Perplex City's fourth wave of cards which include a barrage of my deranged ideas, and a leeeetle launch soiree takes place down in That London which I shall be attending (of course) with the great and the good. News spews and dummyspits as and when they happen!

I'm heading down in the morning to meet my mother, which will be interesting in itself, then do some major hanging around until hooking up with the various good people. Speaking of whom, one (Jamie) recommended the rather fabulous Questionable Content comic strip to me last week (www.questionablecontent.net) and I have fallen for it in a major way. Basically it's the comings and goings of a group of normal people like thee and me (hah!) who may possibly have a few issues... it's probably better if you go read it. It won't disappoint. :D

Anyway, in tribute, I have made a shirt based on one of the characters . Turned out pretty well, I think:

It's NOT Pintsize, it's merely... inspired by him. I didn't have the right colours in the first place, but I still think it looks quite splendid. And I'll buy a few of the official (and pretty!) QC shirts when payday rolls around again. Toodles!


Thursday, July 20, 2006

School's out!

Good lord, busy busy busy. So much to do and so little time, as the white rabbit said.

It has been a few days of ups and downs. No middle ground for me - just either splendidly good things (spending my first day at school as a *proper* trainee and meeting my class for next year, for example) and stinky rotten things (bike playing up again, and losing my bloody mobile phone). Let the ranting begin!

Well, school was fun. The new class are coming into year five, and are all very small. Seriously. I feel like I tower over them like the BFG, plus they were all timid and scared of me - that'll change quickly enough, I'm sure. I'm back in tomorrow to set up the classroom for the First Day Of Term and begin the horrors of actually planning stuff for them to do. This is where the whole "new career" actually begins, and though it feels daunting I'm also excited...

On the crappier side, The Pig required a new battery after numerous AA visits this week. Mercifully I've taken today off for a day of what The American refers to as "Domestic Productivity" but it's start was somewhat delayed by me having to go and spend £45 (£45!) on a box of acid. Still, I shall fit it later and all - hopefully - will be well with it again. However, at some point while hurtling around the local area, my mobile slipped out of my pocket, never to be seen again. All my numbers are lost, of course, which is a bit annoying, but there's precious little I can do about that. Just have to send a few emails out. The worst thing is that my network take up to a week to replace the thing. What will I do?!

Actually, it'll probably be rather nice.

Other news... not much. Some of my designs for Perplex City's Wave 4 cards will be available as of the 31st, and there's a launch party down in That London that I shall be heading for (along with, no doubt, the usual suspects). There is talk of pre-event cocktails, and where there is the possibility of a Mojito and a good quality Bloody Mary, you'll find me...

Be good. See you soon.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Life is a Cabaret, Old Chum...

No updates for a while, mainly as not much is actually happening. Life has slowed to a crawl, with the daily machinations of getting up, going to work, going home, eating and sleeping (then starting all over again) becoming increasingly unbearable. Lots and lots of hitting my head off the desk...

Work has hit crisis point. Basically it's become a bitter parody of Office Space (which I finally managed to watch at the weekend. It's very good, go watch it... it'll give you a lot to think about, especially on the role of slacking in the workplace). Anyway, I now officially no longer give a damn about anything contained within my work remit, mainly as (yet again) my job spec has been altered into something unrecognisable from it's previous incarnation. The details of my old job are dull in the extreme, but safe to say, I was alright at it, and every day from 8.30am to 5pm I'd trundle along, doing my thing and not feel too bad when I got home.

Now it's all different. My old job has been taken over by an already overstretched manager, while I haven't got even the most basic idea about my new role. I've asked people to help, to point me in the right direction... even to just plain tell me what I have to do, but I'm met with nothing more than a shrug of the shoulders and a slack-jawed "dunno...". Hence the almost continual face/desk interface. Seriously, my forehead is bruised as all hell. I've just been told that next week my hours will be changing too - without consultation - which adds yet another straw to the heavily-laden camel's back. I'd check my contract, but I don't actually have one. Indeed, I never have! What a splendid company I work for.

But, of course, there's the fabled light at the end of the tunnel; Man's most liberating action. The Handing In Of Your Resignation. In a mere two weeks, I shall give my Four Weeks Notice in, and the countdown to my new life will begin. Believe me, I'm counting the nanoseconds. And when that four weeks is up, I'm going straight to the pub for a whole week to celebrate.

In Real Life - like I said, not much occurring. Finished JPod (which I enjoyed immensely) and have now moved onto Battle Royal. Next on the list is the new Haruki Murakami offering, "Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman". Finally got the new Snow Patrol CD, also quite lovely (especially the new single, "Chasing Cars"). And I'm going out for Japanese food tonight! I tell you. it's a rollercoaster, this life.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

I can't stand the rain...

Today I was properly scared for the first time in a long time. Sure, the odd spider crossing my desk puts a shiver up my spine once in a while, and I'm not too great when it comes to heights, but today... For about 25 minutes, today was absolutely horrible.

A little scene setting, if you please. I've never learnt to drive a car, mainly as I've never had to. Always lived in places with a good public transport set-up (London, Manchester, Sydney, etc.), but then I moved to Woburn Sands, a small town in Buckinghamshire. There are 4 buses a day, and a hideously overpriced and overcomplicated train station - that's it - and after relying on them for nearly a year (and them not aften appearing), I took matters into my own hands... and bought me a little scooter.

Sure, it's not exactly the most masculine thing in the world, but it's mine, and it gets me around. It's a 125cc Suzuki, and is affectionately known as The Pig - mainly as it squeals like one when going up a steep hill. I learnt how to ride it safely, took my lessons, and now love pootling off around on it. Great. Apart from when, of course, it rains...

Now, around last September, I got caught in a terrible storm. One of those where you just become saturated, and you seriously believe that there's no way you can get any wetter. Then you shift your position ever so slightly, revealing a previously hidden fragment of dry cloth to the elements which immediately shlurps up another three litres of rain. To add insult to injury, it had been a lovely morning, with no sign of rain, so I was wearing no waterproof gear at all. Add on top of that the fact that I was on my way to work, and had to spend the day in sopping wet clothes and... well, again, great. That wasn't the worst thing though. Oh no. The gods thought it would be a lovely time to have michael involved with his first bike accident!

Cheers lads. Ta. No, seriously. Thanks very much.

It wasn't bad at all, to be honest. Wasn't seriously hurt, and I insist I was being careful anyway. I was going slowly round a corner when, all of a sudden, I hit a patch of water and the back wheel went whoomph from under me, swiftly followed by the rest of the bike. The first I knew about it was waking up laying face down in a puddle, looking up and seeing the bike about thirty feet away with the wheels still spinning... I scrambled to my feet, picked the bike up and rode the remaining couple of miles to work, and had a crappy day explaining to idiots that yes, I got caught in the storm, and I had a ripped shirt and couldn't walk straight because I'd fallen off the bike.

Anyway, that was the first and only time I've come off. But today, about 4pm (while I was actually doing some work for once...) the rains returned. In style. I was - of course - hoping it would pass quickly, but come hometime there was no sign of it abating. And there's no way that I was going to stay in the office a minute longer than necessary, so I decided to take a chance of go for it.

Got my jacket, helmet and gloves on, popped one headphone of the iPod in, stepped outside and immediately became 99.4% water. I fiddled for my keys in my pocket, started the bike and set off home - straight into the first thunder and lightning storm of the year. And there were only two things I could think of:

1. PleasepleasepleaseGODdon'tletmybackwheelgoagainIdon'twanttofalloffanddie......
2. I wonder if the lightning will be attracted to me more because I've got my iPod on?

Obviously I can probably warrant number one as I'd fallen of previously in similar conditions, but with regards point two... it strikes me that I was possibly the wettest thing on earth at that point, and I was sitting on a big lump of metal; a combination that would be reasonably good at conducting electricity. Honestly, sometimes I'm a total muppet. Anyhow, through the storm I rode, trying to be safe, attempting to not pay attention to the lightning striking all around. You know that thing when you see the flash and you start counting until you hear the rumble, so you can work out how many mile away it is? Mine went like...

michael: "On..."

Put the fear in me. I love thunder and lightning - it's one of nature's greatest showpieces - but I would much prefer to be inside, with a cup of tea and a biscuit. Not sitting in soaking clothes atop a super-conductive lump of metal while riding around the hilly countryside. But anyway, the upshot is, I made it home in one piece, and conquered another small fear. I think there'll always be a spot of mild trepidation if I have to venture out again in weather like that (and it'll happen again before the summer's out, I'm sure of it), but now I've managed to get through a journey in it without coming off, it's another mark in the "well done michael" column. Now, excuse me, I'm just off to investigate how much it'll cost if I wanted to learn to drive...