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Wednesday, June 23

And Then There Was Tuesday

Yes, I have actually caught up. Well done me.

Another busy day today, capped off with getting royally fucked around with. But we'll get to that.

Once more, for what seems like the umpteenth time in the last few weeks, I struggled to see any time before midday. This is going to sound terrible, and very sad, but I looked over at my clock when I woke up, saw the time being 11.49am, and actually felt a small tinge of pride at waking up before midday with no artificial aid.

You know you're a lazy-assed cunt when...

I started working my way through my epic "things to do" list, including filling out the confusingly German forms to apply to Heidelberg University. Stupid being-in-German forms, why can't they be in, erm, English? I can cope with English language forms, just about.

I then had to go down to the bank to transfer payment to the university for the German language course that I'm going to take there before term starts properly. 230, thank you very much. Thankfully my parents covered that cost for me. Love you!

Oh, and how fucking difficult is it to transfer money internationally? I had to fill in (another!) form, this one of A4 length, and for the pleasure of it I was charged 27. Mmmm, banking. I've got to send this receipt off to Germany with my application form, which is one of the things I've got to do tomorrow. I swear every time I cross something off my list, I have to add another 2 things... Stupid bloody list.

I then watched a bit of the tennis (mmmm, Danniella Hantchucova) and some of the news before having to get changed and head back into Central London for the trial-shift at the pub. And damn I looked good, dressed all in black from head to toe. And no, not in a goth way.

Well, I looked good except for the enormous, throbbing spot on my nose. Why is it when something important like a job interview happens, or when you're going to meet a load of new people, your face conspires against you? I haven't had a spot like this in months and months, but it chooses today of all days to launch itself into the spotlight. "Look at me!" it screams, attracting attention like a Michael Jackson lawsuit. The fucker (the spot, not MJ. The court has yet to prove he did anything other than "love" those kids. Ahem).

This is the stage where I got royally fucked around with. I was at the pub a few minutes early, asked the bargirl to tell the manager I was here, and stood around to wait.

And wait, and wait, and wait. At 7.20 she managed to drag herself away from the phone for enough time to see me. She told me about the other pub, and that I would be on their payroll, since I would be on their staff rota properly, and then filling in at the first pub whenever I had gaps. Are you following?

Let's call one pub The Explorer (X), and the other the Duke of York (Y) (wow, that worked out so very conveniently. Honestly, that wasn't planned!). X is the pub that rang me in the first place, and where I was supposed to do the trial shift. The manager at X (mX) then told me that I would be on Y's payroll, and would work there on their rota. I could then fill in at X in order to make up my hours. Easy!

It thus, according to mX, made no sense for me to do my trial shift at X, since I would be spending more time at Y, under the supervision of the manager there (mY). She gave me the address of Y, as well as my directions, and told me that mY was expecting me, and that I should do my trial there that night.

Fair enough, I thought, not wanting to rock the boat. Never mind that it was drizzling, and that I had no jacket with me (it wasn't raining or even cloudy at my house when I left), I was quite happy to wander down Oxford St to Y. I got a little lost due to mX's inept directions, but I eventually found my way to Y.

Y is a great little pub, and I mean little. It's tucked away on a back street in Fitzrovia, and is only open Mon-Fri, catering mainly for the media types round there. It doesn't serve food, only drink, which to my mind makes it a fantastic pub. Going by a review on Beer In The Evening they actually allow / encourage customers to bring in their own food, especially on quiz nights, etc. Oh, and "quiz nights"? Excellent news!

I introduced myself to mY, a very nice lady who seemed very eager to have me on board at the pub. Wait, that came out wrong. She seemed very eager to have me as part of the team at the pub.

However, she had got the wrong end of the stick, to some extent, because she thought that I'd done a trial shift at X that evening. When I told her that I hadn't I was hoping that I would be able to do it there straight away, to save me having made a wasted journey.

Of course, this wasn't going to happen. We arranged for me to come back on Friday lunchtime for a few hours, since it would be relatively busy, and I would be able to see how the bar is run at these times. I didn't mind this too much, since I knew that I'd now guaranteed myself this job, but I was still quite peeved that I'd wasted not only 2-3 hours of my time tonight, but also 5 of my money travelling in. 5 is too much at this point, in my precarious financial position.

He says, having spent 5 on beer at Sainsbury's yesterday. Meh, beer doesn't count.

I got back in time to watch the second half of the Italy-Bulgaria game, which contained the very amusing scene of the rapturous Italian team running over to their bench after Cassano scored an injury-time winner, only to be told that it was all in vain, as the Denmark-Sweden score was 2-2, sending the Italians crashing out. It was very funny to see their faces turn from unbridled joy to utter despair in the course of a couple of steps.

Sorry, am I gloating because England got through? So be it! We got through!!!

Shit, I forgot one very important thing: our TV has no sound at the moment. This is absolutely dire news, especially so since we don't know how to remedy the situation. It happened earlier today, when I was watching a bit of Wimbledon. The volume was at a normal level, and nothing out of the ordinary was happening on-screen.

There was this small cracking noise, and then no sound. The picture didn't flicker once, and is still perfect, but we have no sound whatsoever. We've tried turning the TV off and back on, changing channels, fiddling with the tuning, everything we can think of, but still nothing. We therefore found ourselves watching the Italy game on ITV whilst listening to the commentary on the radio, which is a little disconcerting, as the radio is about a second behind the action on-screen.

We also couldn't watch any TV after the football, because those programmes, strangely enough, don't come with radio commentary. We can't even watch with subtitles, because the TV doesn't have teletext! Basically, we're screwed.

Screwed, that is, except for watching a DVD, since we route the sound from the PS2 (our substitute DVD player) into the stereo, via a complicated operation involving a portable Minidisc player and a myriad of cables. Saved!

I'd received Event Horizon through the post today, only 7 weeks after winning the auction for it on eBay (I guess it got here, which is the main thing), and after much discussion and debate, we plumped for that as our entertainment for a couple of hours.

I'd forgotten just how fucking scary that film can be. Do yourself a favour and don't freeze-frame the "hell" scenes, because there's some fucked-up shit that flashes up on screen. The same is true when they manage to play the last logs of the ship's previous crew. That's nasty too.

And now I find myself at my computer, completely up to date with the events in my exciting (ahem) and busy life. I feel fulfilled, but also hungry.

Waking Up Is A Good Thing

Has anyone ever woken up to find the offer of a job waiting for them as an answerphone message on their phone? That's what happened to me on Monday morning lunchtime.

After getting my customary 8 hours sleep, I woke up sometime around 12, had a shower, and then came back to my room. I switched on my usual 3 things that need switching on: the computer; the stereo; and my mobile;

My phone beeped at me (too loudly for me, seeing as I was still a little dozy) to let me know that I had an answerphone message. It seems that one of the pubs that I applied to do some bar work at a few weeks back had passed my details on to another pub in the chain, which could offer me some work for the summer. And no, the first pub still hasn't got back to me about work there.

I rang this new pub up, and spoke to a very friendly female manager. She asked me to pop down that afternoon, around 6, for an interview-type thing. Cool, I'd finally found a job, and it had fallen into my lap without looking for it specifically. This is a "good thing". Oh, and handy too, because I got a few emails back on Monday declining my application for other random jobs. Bastards.

I then made a big list of a shitload of things which I needed to do either that day or at least by the end of the week. This included such simple things as shaving for the interview in the evening, but also some more complex and time-consuming tasks, such as sorting out personal insurance for my move to Germany.

Actually, the vast majority of the stuff on the list is concerning Germany. There is an absolutely incredible amount of stuff to do by this September, and it all must be done, along with getting a job and working... Too much!

One of the items on the list was to clean the entire house, because it still hadn't been tidied after my housemates' drinking session on Friday. Looked like a bomb hit it? Hell, a bomb blast might have tidied it somewhat.

Chindle and me blitzed the entire house, top to bottom, and I ended up spending a good few hours at the kitchen sink, washing 3 days worth of crockery for 7 guys. Funnily enough, that's quite a lot. Oh, and for those who don't know the album 'Mutter' by Rammstein is the best album to wash up to. The thumping beats behind the frenetic guitar and keyboard parts make you wash up so much faster than usual. I couldn't help but headbang too.

I then hopped onto a tube (after a stupidly long delay) and made my way to Oxford Circus, for 'twas there that the pub was located. A little period of searching ensued, but I found it, and was even early for my 'appointment'. The bar staff evidently hadn't been informed of my arrival, and the manager was still in a meeting, so I had to sit on my own for a while whilst they sorted themselves out.

More confusion ensued when a deputy manager came to see me, led me downstairs into a private meeting room that was set up for the England game for some blue-chip company or other, handed me an application form and promptly disappeared. I filled it in, trying desperately to remember my GCSE exam results (honestly, why do they need them?!), and then spent a panicked minute hunting for the guy so that I could give him the form back.

I couldn't find him anywhere, and I was getting very disconcerting "who the fuck are you" looks from the people who were there for the private function, so I went back upstairs to the bar. I gave a random barmaid the form, told them who it was for, and carried on standing around aimlessly.

I was even looking half-decent, freshly shaved, and in a shirt and trousers for once. I don't make this type of effort to be left looking like a lemon, alone and slightly confused. At this point I got a text message from an unknown number, asking me where I was watching the England game, and signed off "Rob from German at KCL". Cue 5 minutes of racking my brains, trying to remember anybody from German Law at King's called Rob, other than me. I was at a loss, but couldn't phone back immediately because at any moment the shadowy, evasive manager could appear.

Which she promptly did. Small, very very small, but other than that nondescript. She explained that another pub in the chain, just up the road, was also looking for staff, and that if I wanted full-time work, they would be quite happy to share me, for want of a better term. Basically, I'd do a 45+ hour week, but not all in one pub.

This suited me fine, because all I wanted was hours and the accompanying money into my account. I was very polite, gracious and almost grovelling (well, it felt like I was doing everything I could to appear eager, willing and available. Job-wise, that is), and it seemed as if it worked.

Obviously, she said, I'd have to do some sort of trial period first, to see if I was up to the task. She said I shouldn't have a problem, because I'd worked behind a bar before, and knew how to do the job. Was I able to do it tonight (Monday), she asked.

Was I fuck! There was the small matter of an England game to watch, and my financial needs aren't quite that desperate. She said that it would be "manic" in the pub anyway, and it was probably best for me to wait until Tuesday, to be honest. Thank fuck for that! I thought I was going to miss the game for a minute there.

We arranged for me to return at 7 the next day, to do a 2-hour test shift, which was fine with me. Like I've got anything better to be doing...

When I got outside, feeling pretty confident about having got the job, I was straight on the phone to the unknown number who had texted me. As soon as I heard his voice, I knew exactly who it was. It wasn't a KCL law student who did German, which is why I couldn't remember a face. No, it was a student at the Royal Academy of Music who does the same German Language class as me at King's.

I'd bumped into him at a Tube station a few weeks back, and I'd given him my number, since he only lives 20 minutes walk from my house. He explained that his housemates were all out, and that he was at a loss for somewhere to watch the football. I invited him round to mine, because I was pretty sure that we would have it on, and that it would be a good atmosphere.

I made my way back home, via Sainsbury's (the greatest shopping basket ever: bread, Pringles, pasta sauce and a 4-pack of Stellas;), and was home in plenty of time for kick-off. A quick plate of pasta as my first meal of the day (I was too busy cleaning when I woke up to remember to eat), a pint of Stella by my side, and I was all set.

It turned out that there were 11 of us in our living room watching the game, and it got pretty cramped. It also got very loud whenever England scored (repeat x 4, add salt and pepper to taste), as well as deathly silent when Croatia put the ball in the back of the net.

I showed Rob around the house at half-time, and he told me about the exam for our class which I chose not to sit (I was too busy with other courseworks and [ahem!] revision). It turns out that he is also going to Germany this year, but he's up in Berlin, whereas I'm down in Heidelberg in the extreme Southwest of the country.

The second half carried on in the same manner as the first (more beer, more Pringles, more goals), and it was pretty soon full-time. A joyous cheer went up, and we were all very content.

Rob left almost straight away, but I must remember to ring him and see if he wants to meet up again for Thursday's match. I can't remember exactly what happened during the rest of the evening, but this wasn't because I was drunk. I'd only had 3, for fuck's sake!

Actually, I can remember some stuff. Big Brother was on, as was this random documetary on bestiality, which caused great amusement. There is a surprisingly large amount of animal porn on my housemates' laptops; make of that what you will.

We then watched a lot of Family Guy, a good 6 or 7 episodes at least. It's just too funny to turn off, you can't help but select the next episode each time one ends. Definitely one of my inspired purchases this year.

After that I ended up online, again, until somewhere near 4 in the morning. What do I do for that time?! I couldn't tell you, because I pretty much do nothing for the whole time. Meh.

Catching Up (Again!)

No, I didn't die, I've just been quite busy for the past few days, and haven't got round to writing anything here.

And good busy, not busy doing nothing...

I think my last post was early on Saturday, when I was still up from the night before, working non-stop on this very blog (thanks for all of the positive comments on it, by the way). My plan at that point was to stay up until about 9 in the evening, and then to collapse into bed for a solid 15 hours of sleep, which would return me to my usual daily sleep cycle.

Of course, this didn't quite happen. I watched a bit of Saturday morning TV for the first time in years (I haven't been missing much), and then the repeat of The OC on Channel 4 (one of my new favourite shows. The girl is so incredibly beautiful!).

I managed to keep awake through Football Focus, but I could feel my eyelids drooping by about 3 in the afternoon. It probably didn't help that I was lying on the most comfortable sofa in the living room, with the volume on the TV turned most of the way down, and no-one else around.

It was at this point that I came up with an utterly genius solution: I would go to bed for an hour or so, and set my alarm for 5 in the afternoon, so that I could watch the football. I would then go back to bed at 10, after the second game, and sleep through until the next morning. Genius!

Of course, as per usual this plan went to shit. Typical.

I woke with a start at about 6.30, in the middle of a somewhat vivid dream, and very confused. For one, I didn't remember waking at 5 and turning off the alarm, which I must have done, since the switch on the side of it was pushed down into the 'Off' position. I distinctly remember setting it to 'On' before I dropped off. Weird.

I managed to catch the end of the Latvia-Germany game, and was wide awake for the second match of the evening, the Czech Republic and Holland. Thank fuck I was, because that was quite simply an awesome game. Truly one of the greatest games that I've ever seen, and worthy of the world stage. Fuck the FA Cup "not needing no Don", this game should be sent on video around the world to promote football. This could even penetrate the American market...


I can't remember anything else of any note happening, so I guess that I must have gone to bed pretty soon after. Meh.

Sunday. What did I do on Sunday? I'm struggling to remember the day's events, so nothing particularly important could have happened. In the evening we (me and a few housemates) went to the pub to watch the football. Yes, I know that it was on the BBC, but we wanted to watch the Greece game, and that was on digital BBC. Any excuse for a couple of pints, to be honest.

After that, we got back home to discover that Goodfellas was just about to start on Channel 4. I'd never seen it before (yes, shame on me), and everybody else was up for it, so that dominated the evening's viewing. Admittedly, 3 of us had laptops in the living room as well, all playing Champ, but we did watch the film.

I'm going to be absolutely frank for a moment here, and say that Goodfellas isn't all it's cracked up to be. Yes, it's a very good film, but I wouldn't raise it to quite the exalted platform on which it has been placed. It's definitely not as good as The Godfather I and II, and I can think of a fair few better films than Goodfellas. Cue loads of abuse from Goodfellas aficionados.

I was wide awake again by midnight (this is what happens when you don't sleep the night before), so I decided to sit up and watch the baseball on Channel 5. Baseball's my second-favourite American sport, behind American Football, and I enjoy watching it. It's very relaxing at 2 in the morning to hear the gentle and almost disinterested voices of the commentators, wittering on about whatever takes their fancy.

The fact that I understand baseball probably helps. Ice hockey is the only American sport which I don't really get, and it's also the only one that I don't particularly enjoy watching, save for that Stanley Cup 7th game a few weeks back. Give me some NFL or MLB any day of the week, and even some NBA.

I used to be into the NBA in a massive way when I was younger. I played for my school basketball team (I may even have been captain for a few games, if memory serves), and I used to religiously watch the NBA magazine show that used to be on Channel 4 on a Saturday and Sunday morning. This was around the time that the Bulls had their legendary Jordan-Pippen-Rodman team, and when the Houston Rockets won a couple of NBA titles. It must have been 1996-7, or thereabouts.

Getting back to the present day, it was thus nearly 4am by the time the baseball finished and I was able to roll into bed. I feel wrong watching a sporting event for (say) 75% of the way through, and then going to bed without knowing the result. This is why I sometimes found myself back at home, watching the repeats of the evening's Super League game at 2am. I don't even really like fucking rugby league, but it was on, and I was sure as hell going to watch it!

And that was my weekend. I'll start Monday on a new post.
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