Temporary Hiatus

I’m going to put this blog on a temporary hiatus, for the information of anyone who is still aware of its existence. I have lost all motivation to write it, perhaps owing to its vague and sporadic nature.

I may start writing elsewhere with more focus, but for this, for now, it’s goodbye.

Jack out.

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Catch-23

Spring is in the air, or at least it is if you ask any of the snowdrops or daffodils that have been popping up lately. And of course with the weather getting ever so slightly warmer, my mind is turning to dusting off that qualification I got around about the last time there were double-digit temperatures and finding my very first EFL job.

Since then, I did the sum total of nothing financially beneficial for two months, and have been delivering pizzas by night for the other three so, again, I have very little money to my name. I’ve started firing off my CV towards anyone who is willing to glance over it, and some who aren’t, and actually I’ve been getting a seemingly positive response. I already have a month’s worth of mornings in the summer lined up, an interview request, and a response of “we’d love to interview you, if only you were living closer.” I would love to live closer. In fact I’d love to live in the very same city, but there is a small problem.

To move to the city (Brighton) I firstly need a deposit to rent accommodation. To save a deposit I need to be earning more than my expenditures which, working as a pizza deliverer, one does very slowly. To rent accommodation I secondly need to be earning a specific multiple of the monthly rent as an annual wage for the peace of mind of the landlord. At the last place I looked at, costing £925 monthly this multiple was 32. This worked out at £29,600. Even split between two people this works out at over sixty pence above the minimum wage, with a forty hour working week.

So what you’re essentially telling me, is that to be considered to work for you on a variable basis, I first need to find a full time job paying over £7 per hour, after having saved up over a thousand pounds working barely thirty hours each week paying £6.50 an hour.

Then I’ll need to write to Greenwich and see if they can add a few extra hours into the day for me, shall I?

The wolf or the sheep

I’m having second thoughts about staying in Brighton after I finish this course. The city (almost) where I went to university. The city (sort of) where I worked before and after I went abroad. And now the city (near enough) where I’m training for my next career choice. I obviously like it here. Or maybe it was just a coincidence that I’ve spent the last three years not-quite-living there.

I’m great at making acquaintances, it seems, but piss poor at making friends. Up until recently I had gone eight years without intentionally seeing anyone I went to school with. I am still in touch with precisely two people I went to college with, and as for university, I’d struggle to tell you in any sort of detail whet more than a couple of those folks were up to.  I work at the same place for a total of eighteen months, and not once felt ‘in the loop’ with any of them. I move to a different country for over a year and meet a whole host of people, both native and foreign. I leave, and I keep in touch with no more than a handful.

And, like I said, I wouldn’t call most of these friends. It’s hard to apply that label to someone who you tell you’re available all day, every day for a week to catch up because, you know, it’s been a while and you’ve both been busy, and they don’t. Or who cancel plans with you and then don’t seem all that fussed about rearranging. Or who I feel, or rather don’t feel, the effects of ‘out of sight, out of mind’ from.

Maybe I’m applying some impossible standards to my friendships, where plans are made to touch base once in a while, even from half a world away, or sending a message out of the blue, or apologising for not getting in touch sooner. But I don’t think that I am, because I have these friends. So maybe I need to re-evaluate, stop putting in effort for no reward, shed the image of the guy who is so understanding he won’t mind if it takes a while to get round to him again, and start rewarding those that do put in effort, and actually want a two-way relationship with me. Because the only thing I’m understanding is who sees me as a rent-a-friend, and don’t actually value my presence in their life.

It probably doesn’t help that in the six years since I “left home” for university, the longest I’ve spent in any one place is a measly fifteen months. At the home I “left” three years previously. So while Brighton might not be the ‘light at the end of the tunnel’ it has become after so long of perpetually being so near but yet so far, maybe six months of independent regularity that could potentially be indefinite is just what I need.

Jack out.

To boldly blog…

So here we are. After not much planning and even less packing, I’m now officially ‘travelling’. Living the life, so to speak. Any conceptions you have about how awesome what I am doing is are most definitely true. My life is infinitely better than yours, and I’m never coming back to England. Of course not. But here’s what I have been up to so far.

The nonni (grandparents) I’m staying with are very nice, their apartment has some furniture I know my other half would be very jealous of, and the makers of Cluedo might want back at some point, and the boys seem like a bundle of laughs. I’m not actually living with the grandparents per se. I’m living in the flat below their apartment. I have a whole properly sized bedroom, bathroom, and living space with decorative kitchenette to play with, but I’m not allowed any friends over. The younger of the two kids, who came with his grandparents to pick me up from the airport, spent most of the journey home quietly staring at me, smiling when I did, and eventually came out with ‘how are you?’ after some very prolonged thought. He also winks back at me, but as yet I don’t know what he knows. The other didn’t come with his grandparents to pick me up didn’t do so as he banged his leg whilst doing something, amply demonstrated by him hopping about when I arrived. Over the past week he has started to come out of his shell, trying his hand at a bit of English, and even remember what I taught him some of the time. He’s a little stubborn, but what ever I’m doing seems to be working.

The younger of the two, the strong silent one on the ride back from the airport, has been set on impressing me from the off. He answers me in English when he can, and asks if he doesn’t know how to say something, and if he wants to ask me something. At first he pointed and gestured hopefully, but I got wise to that pretty soon and demanded he said what he meant.

What’s more, for such as small, obscure town, completely overshadowed by the neighbouring metropolis of Milan, I’ve actually managed to find someone doing what I’m doing in the same small, obscure town, who I’ve met and is in pretty much the same boat I am, although her boat came from Spain, so she’s a relative old hand. Although she’s not old. But she does have hands. Fortunately.

Now I’ve not managed to avoid going to Milan, as the other half is there and demands all the time she can get out of me. And I’ve happily obliged. It’s pretty much as I left it – there are odd disabled beggars doing all sorts, a cute old Asian man carving awesome out of root vegetables (I kid you not, I meant to write exactly that), the people selling bracelets, books and roses, and the Milanese generally putting up with all the obnoxious tourists and all of the above.

I’m going to try and find a mythical large park with my out-of-Milan buddy tomorrow morning, and then it’s only two more afternoons until Saturday, which I think both the nonni and I are equally relieved of. So, until we meet again…

Jack out.

Tablets in disguise…

Just browsed through this article on the Economist, about the need for tablet computers ( http://www.economist.com/blogs/babbage/2013/01/tablet-computers), which in actuality turned out to be a piece on the iPad and its siblings, and yet another closed-minded writer regurgitating how Apple products can’t do everything. How they’re too big or too small, too slow, or too casual.

Of course they can’t. That’s precisely why I’ve never touched them with a ten foot iPole. There is a free market in tablets you know. I’m writing this on a tablet, albeit a tablet that currently looks more like a small laptop than a tablet. It comes with a grand total of 30GB or so of memory, but the makers have had the ingenuity to provide a slot for a memory card and a connection for extra storage, so I currently have closer to 1TB to play with. It also has more cores than my desktop machine. Expandable memory? Detachable, real keyboard? Substantial processing power? All quite farfetched concepts to the average iUser, but then I never have been.

Might write a full review of this beast of a machine, but until then..

Happy new year.

Jack out.

The Dilemma of a Tech Buff

No deep moral or philosophical poser here, just something that most people wouldn’t even consider worrying about, kind of like those ‘first world problems’ on Twitter.

I’m in the market for a new set of personal audio head brackets – headphones or earphones, and as with choosing anything to buy, there are a frustrating number of factors I’m considering when I choose. There’s the camp of ‘buy cheap so it’s no big deal when they inevitably break’ versus ‘take the time to find exactly what you need’ versus ‘get this because I have them and they’re awesome/fine’.

So here’s what I want: a set that don’t give me a headache they clamp so hard on my head, or aren’t so heavy they make my neck ache after an evening, and aren’t so cumbersome I need to go to the hall to put them on as there isn’t room to manoeuvre them in my room.

I want bluetooth connectivity so I can connect wirelessly to both my computer and phone, and consequently I want a microphone so I can take calls on my phone.

Lastly, I want a decent sound quality, and decent build quality – both roughly in line with the cost.

I’ve found two, both fit some criteria, and don’t or may not (I’ll come to this later) fit others.

One is a £30 number by Sony – comfortable, light, decent sound quality, but wired and with no microphone. The other, a £60+ set from Creative – bluetooth and microphone, but I have no idea about the rest of my criteria.

I discovered the former through visiting my local Currys and trying on a few sets, a very limited few sets, they had out and usable, so I know why I like it, but it’s not got everything I want.

On the other hand, the Creative set I found online, googling what I wanted – ‘bluetooth headphones with microphone’, so have no idea about comfort, fit or sound quality.

For most of the population, going into HMV or Currys or any other high street electrical store would be enough, because for the average user, anything they can hear music coming out of that sits on their head or in their ears is sufficient, however knowing more about the capabilities of technology, as I do, I tend to have little demands that I know can be met, but at the sacrifice of not being able to try the product before hand.

The battle continues…

Jack out.