Meewella | Fragments

The Life of P

Month: August 2004 (page 1 of 2)

“Crazy dancer bloke. Wikid moves.”

Cheers, Richie!Bet you never thought I’d ever be described like that! Especially since, given the choice, I prefer to be on a different continent to anything which remotely resembles a dancefloor. Which sort of explains my love for Antarctica. Until those trip-hop-crazy scientists turned up, that is…

So Mark had a party last night and I had a little – well, rather a lot – too much to drink and there was much merriment and dancing involved. Shouldn’t have happened, of course, but it seems at least my dancing received rave reviews the next day. Now that pragmatism for ya! And of course it was nice to see a lot of the old work gang, Toby, Richie, and Isaac. Toby provided his personal brand of cheese in terms of music with an ecclectic mix from Electric Six to Marilyn Manson to Queen. Lyndon and I did have to “censor” some of it, but even so.

And in return for the party, I suppose a quick plug is in order. Mark’s old site drunkadventures.co.uk is sadly no more. After hackers invaded and changed the name to “thatnite.com” Mark couldn’t be arsed to change everything back. Instead, in a moment of unparalleled genius, the lazy git just obtained the www.thatnite.com domain and reopened the site under this new guise. The purpose is the same as ever: a repository for photos from every drunken adventure. If you’re interested in being involved in advertising the site at your school/university/place of work (though you may not want the boss seeing pics of you stumbling around with a trophied traffic cone on your head) then let me know and I’ll put you in touch with Mark.

100% Pure Silk

Nothing says, “I earn too much,” like a white silk tie around the office. But I was in a good mood. My laptop was delivered much earlier than expected (although it forced me to miss Curry Night) and even with only a handful of hours sleep, I was still buzzing. Silently. It’s a truly beautiful piece of machinery, and I was especially surprised by the quality of the screen. I had chosen to upgrade it from the standard WXGA to WSXGA, the difference being an increased resolution of up to 1680×1050. The clarity is truly startling. So there’ll now be a few intensive days of downloading, installing and tweaking absolutely everything to make it look and feel…well, perfect would be a good start. And I now have UT2004 and Doom3 to keep me sane. There’s nothing quite so therapeutic as blowing the faces off aliens in an abandoned research station on Mars…

Perspecs

2 unbelievably depressing things:

  1. bumping into your ex’s little sister with her boyfriend
  2. when it starts pouring with rain just two minutes before you get home

2 strangely amusing things:

  1. bumping into your ex’s little sister with her boyfriend
  2. when it starts pouring with rain just two minutes before you get home

So what’s my point? Different persectives of the same things. So which is right? The happy, amused outlook, obviously? Well, not exactly. I think they’re both equally valid because they’re both real responses to the situation at different times, and often at the same time. Until you view events from different perspectives, you can’t hope to understand how other people perceive them, and until you can see those different perspectives at the same time, you’ll never see things as they really are. Is it as simple as opening your 3rd eye? Sort of. But the important thing is this: never complain that someone is either too depressing or too cheerful. Learn from their outlook and incorporate it into your own. Chances are they’re right. Or at least, just a glimmer of it.

Filmage

You know you’re settling into your job properly when you can spot mistakes in your supervisor’s work, and then engage in lengthy discussions about possible alternatives. Not bad given that a week ago I knew absolutely nothing whatsoever about insurance. A few interesting developments: Toby and Richie were both offered a job on the phones in the same building as me (not quite so well paid, but with v. good hours). They were distinctly unimpressed with their coworkers on the first day’s training, Richie electing not to come back while Toby is determined to stick it out at least until the training ends.

Although for the most part I’ve been keeping to myself since work started, Monday night was strange. After work I went to see The Village and as I was coming out, decided to call Toby seeing as it was his birthday and all. Turns out he was about 50 feet away from me. So we went for a drink, met up with a few mutual friends and then went back to the cinema to see The Bourne Identity. I tried to tempt them into seeing something else so I could make it three in one evening, but for some reason the boring gits said they had homes to get to. So, it turned out, did I. And a job to wake up for the next morning. Both reviews are to follow shortly.

Random Access Memory

Work went surprisingly well, given the preceeding night’s shenanigans. The office has a quiet but relaxed atmosphere; not too strict or oppressive and lunch breaks can be taken whenever you choose. The work itself is not as I expected. The technical side which I expected to cause problems is actually very straightforward. Instead it’s a the wordy side full of heavy insurance terminology that proves more difficult. It’s not too bad for me given my legal interest, but the other temp with whom I’m working is finding it more of a challenge. It’s mostly dull but I’m just focusing on the money…

The money is actually rather important given that I just spent about one and a half grand on a laptop a few days ago. It’s a strangely custom-designed beast from Dell, that is not precisely what I wanted but very close. I won’t apologise for being overly technical here, so either keep up or go read something else. A P4 3GHz processor would have been ideal, but Dell’s highest spec Inspiron laptop which features that chip is a bulky monstrosity that’s too noisy and not portable at all by most accounts. Therefore I dropped down to the Inspiron 8600 range which only allows an Intel Centrino 2GHz processor at best. Why not grab one of the great in-store deals then? Well, the computer had to be custom made because of the inordinate amount of RAM I’ve squeezed into it. The stores offer a maximum of 512MB and the machine I’ve ordered has – well – double that. A gigabyte of RAM. Has a nice ring to it. Essentially it means I can multitask to my heart’s content, as well as some serious graphic editing without having to worry about running out of memory and crashing.

Dell Inspiron 8600cFull spec? Okay:

  • processor: Intel Pentium M 755 (2.0 Ghz)
  • screen: 15.4″ WSXGA LCD widescreen
  • memory: 1024MB 333MHz DDR RAM
  • video card: 128MB ATI Radeon Mobility 9600 Pro Turbo
  • hard drive: 60GB 7200rpm
  • disc drive: modular 4x DVD+RW drive
  • wireless: dell wireless 1350 802.11b/g 54Mbps mini-PCI
  • battery: 9 cell 72WHr Li-ion
  • accessories: USB optical mouse; free printer

It is due to arrive in a little over a week, and I couldn’t resist ordering Unreal Tournament 2004 and Doom3 in advance…

Results Day

Not my results day, of course. But given how much effort they’d all put in, I figured I owed it to the kids to spend some time with them today. And now they’re all going to kill me after reading that sentence. I was in Croydon from around midday to check out the building where I would be working tomorrow. Having bumped into a few happy customers who were heading off either home or to get drunk, I eventually popped into Lloyds with a few of them for a drink myself.

Almost everyone was happy but there were a few inevitable disappointments, including two of my close friends. One of them knew how it would go, one was worried but waiting to see. I met up with Friya and Martin for a while as planned, before disappearing and heading back to Sanderstead for a short while where Kirsty and some others had gathered. Eventually moved back into Croydon to see a few people at The Goose before heading on to Guy’s where the Whitgift crowd would be. It was nice to have another big bash at Guy’s; certainly brings back memories and seeing the ol’ gang is always fun. However, after partying that hard, making a good impression at a new job the following day? Hmm…

Re-Employment

In hindsight, my birthday was a decidedly tolerable affair. The restaurant meal was full, buzzing and generally managed to chat to various people. After coming home (and counting the spoils – I did say it was a financial investment) my parents invited over the Hydes and some other neighbours for champagne and cake which a nice, more intimate environment. Chyde also brought over a bottle of The Glenlivet so he stayed late and we watched 28 Days Later while he helped me finish off the rest of my old bottle of Talisker. A great end to the day.

Having pretty much given up hope of finding more work before university, yesterday I received from my agency regarding a possible job that had just come up. Apparently it was Acrobat-based, in which I have no experience, but because of the computer test scores I had, they were willing to let my go for it. It’s for Barclay’s Insurance in Croydon, which is perfect travelwise. And then they said those beautiful magic words: £10 an hour…

The Thing About Birthdays Is…

A modern social commentator once described birthdays as “an arbitrary and archaic institution that, because of the importance we place in it, prolongs the absurd system of judging a person’s character based upon the number of years they have been in existence.” Actually it wasn’t a social commentator, it was me. And it wasn’t once, it was today. Well, it was just the once, admittedly.

It’s true though, much as I love celebrating other people’s birthdays, I’ve never much liked my own. Or at least not for the past few years. Maybe it’s partly to do with the fact that August birthdays inevitably mean your closest friends are jetting off on summer holidays so are never around, but that’s not really it. Maybe it’s that people expect me to throw a party to celebrate something I’m not that keen on anyway, but that’s not really it either. Mostly it’s that I’ve forever been judged by my age, and birthdays are a constant reminder of that arbitrary limitation. The notion that I’m not old enough to be doing the things I’ve admittedly been doing for the past few years is utterly absurd to me. Especially placed alongside the various achievements that would have garnered similar disapproving sneers or at best those friendly sympathetic, “you won’t manage it, you’re too young” comments if I’d bothered to ask anyone and not just gone for it. So you’ll forgive me for not being 100% behind the archaic institution that actively promotes such ideas in people.

So today was my last day as a child. Tomorrow I’ll be an adult. And oh-so-much mature for it, I’m sure. Those 24 hours make all the difference, don’t they? So how did I spend them? In a muddy field, actually. It was an O2 family event that involved driving two-and-a-half hours up to somewhere near Rugby, I think. I imagine the evening would’ve been good with a few (watered-down indie) rock bands performing, but I was hardly complaining about leaving. It wasn’t bad as such; just insufferably mediocre all round. Not exactly worth five hours in a car. I tried to sleep most of that, having been woken up in the middle of the night (7:30am) to leave.

That said, I’m now here writing to you, enjoying my last underage drink (a large glass of Talisker – could I possibly ask for anything else!?), so not the worst end to a troubled 18-year gestation period as I finally become a real live citizen (which reminds me, I got a lovely birthday note from my MP three days ago…). And sure, I suppose surviving 18 years in this place is quite an achievement. And even I have to admit that 18th birthdays certainly are a sound financial investment.

Cheers kids!
Goodnight.

Tresor, The House Tree & Curry Night

On Zaki’s whim, I arranged for a bunch of people to meet up at Tresor Café for lunch, then wander over to the house tree in Croham Wood, and then finally head back into Croydon for the usual Thursday night curry. As I expected, most people didn’t actually reply, though unlike Zaki I didn’t take it personally and instead put it down to the fact they’re ex-Whitgiftians. It’s what they’re always like.

For those who could make it (Ben first, then Zaki and Georgie from his uni, then Andie and T a little late, and finally Guy and Chyde much later), it was actually rather (slightly subdued) fun. We picked up food at Tresor and took it to the graveyard which had been our school lunchtime haunt (no pun intended. really.) during the previous two years. It had probably been over a year since I’d last been there, but it was cosily familiar. We were in such a good mood we (well, Zaki) even gave an extra beer to a builder and probably made his day.

Andie and T had to leave at this point, while the rest of us headed up to the woods to visit the old House Tree. In the email I sent out, the included glossary perfectly described a House Tree as:

a tree that has grown/fallen so that it forms a sheltered “house”, originating from the term “treehouse” but different in that it encompasses the entirity (or majority) of the tree, rather than being built halfway up.

So naturally everyone thought it was a pub. Apparently yes, my sense of humour is that quirky. Zaki had wanted to visit it since we had both been there at its creation, hammering a few branches into a makeshift roof and so forth. Naturally the visit would conjure up memories for us. However, given that I was pretty sure (and inevitably right) that it would have collapsed into a particularly dillapidated dead tree with a few rusty nails, I wasn’t sure quite what the others were supposed to get out of it (unfortunately Katie, who had arranged the original House Tree expedition, never replied to this invitation).

So after spending a while in the sun at the top of the hill, we wandered back to my house and watched inordinate amounts of Family Guy before the much-awaited Curry Night (it’s really quite bad that it’s the height of our collective social calendars, so much so that it gets capitalised). On the way home I bumped into Martin and hung out with him for a couple of hours, but since I couldn’t contact my parents to let them know, it led to a bit of a confrontation. I think we were equally pissed off with each other. The less said about that the better.

Things That Get Cut In The Night

It’s always a little disconcerting to realise that you must have sliced your throat open the night before, but not remember how it happened. While washing my face this morning, I discovered a thin, inch and a half cut running down my neck, but can’t for the life of me think where I got it from (although perhaps my memory of last night is a little blurred.

Even so, I don’t remember having a schizophrenic episode and holding knife to my throat and threatening to kill “him”, although stranger things have happened. Or maybe I was attacked by werewolves on the way home late last night. Yeah, that must be it…

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