All entries for October 2005

October 25, 2005

Now it's My Turn.

Hey,

I knew the time would come. I need a vent for the anger that builds inside me. The new Stagecoach pink buses are shite.

Even that helps. I'm sure every last person in Leamington trying to get to Warwick University feels my pain. I live next door to an ex-X12 driver and now a dispatch worker and he agrees they have a serious problem.

Need evidence? I almost had the photograph that would have been front page Boar material. Whilst walking down the parade to south Leamington, on the opposite side of the road, in the space between the top crossroads and the town hall were four, yes four, U1 pink buses. Sodding four of them! Print cannot convey the strange amusement I drew from it and the sheer astonishment at the situation.

What was it they said? The new timetable will prevent bunching. If my mobile phone had a decent camera i'd have got the lot of them in frame. It was a joke. I might have laughed at the time, but it did piss me off thinking i'd be screwed had I been on one.

Only this morning the eight past bus went five minutes early leaving me to wait for the twenty past. When that turned up and left at quarter past I started to see something forming in my brain that might explain the bus services current plight. More on that shortly. By the time we reached the top of the parade, the twenty past bus I was on, overtook the two buses infront of it. So as a threesome we ran to uni. So I wasn't late, as the bus would normally have been in getting me there.

Ok, so the parade is causing some issues, now with the middle bus stop missing on one side confusing old people tempers are starting to fray. The other thing i've picked up on is the fact that downstairs now fills up first on the buses rather than the top as it has done over the past two years. Yesterday, I found out why. The radios on the top are seldom tuned in and the buzzing and squealing drove me nuts.

The other day my housemate and I waited nearly 40 minutes for a bus. Two went past in the space of a minute just as we got ready to depart the house. Then the long vigil at the bus stop meant I was late for an important project meeting. Which buses were the ones we saw? and where the hell were the ones in the gap? Which one was the one we caught? Argh. To top it all off, there is this trend for U1's to stop at the top of campus and sit for some twenty to thirty minutes before leaving. In which time two buses will have just driven straight past without stopping. It's then that the bus driver informs you he doesn't leave until ten past and we should try to get on one of the buses that leaves before him. Then why did you get here first?

The other thing that's catching me lately is the random buses that only go as far as the railway bridge on the way back. They don't go to st helens road (the official start and end of the route) or sydenham. Looking at the timetable they are supposed to go to st helens road. But becuase it's easier to just go to the depo from the bottom of town, they seem to do this.

My next door neighbour and I have agreed its an attitude problem on the bus drivers part. They all have a stop they like to make up time at. Ever got on a bus and it's sat there for some twenty minutes? Feel sorry for the sods who are waiting for it at the bus stops behind it. The big bald bus driver the route has likes to stop at the bottom of sydenham to make up his time for example. Some sit at the parish church and grab a bite to eat from the newsagent or some sit on campus. Some want to get to the driver swap as soon as possible as well. So there is this growing trend for buses to just past stops even if they are early. To carry on driving regardless of the fact that they aren't supposed to leave that stop for another five minutes. Screwing the entire timetable and bunching things up.

What's the net result of all this? It seems to be more appreciation from the customers. Don't get me wrong, in previous years i've been the only guy to say thanks, no everyone does it. Which is nice and polite of us all. Perhaps though if we were more vocal about the idiocy of the situation things might change. Rant over. Meh.

Cheers

Daniel


October 20, 2005

Coffee, The Shakes, Letters and Victory!

Hey all,

In the closest impression of Stewie (Family Guy) I can do, "Victory is mine!". In what I can only call a battle of wills between me and myself, I have won. Ok, this is difficult to describe without sounding really 'look at me', so go with me here. I've been suffering with Dysthymic Disorder. Which, by a contradiction in itself, is Chronic Mild Depression. Do you research, it's brought on by a trigger event (sister in a car crash, old friend of mine died) and often occurs in Uni students under particular 'stressors'. It doesn't include any psychotic or manic episodes and has a list of symptoms similar to that of any modern day teenager. It should last no longer than a few years (teenager me thinks again) and can be sorted by working out the underlying issues causing it. One conspirital thought I had relates to the symptom that sufferers will claim they are fine for lengthy periods and appear so, but will drop back into depression every once in a while. Isn't that any person? A bad day at the office maybe? A bad week? Is it just an excuse to label us all mad?

It's odd, because I fit the list of manifestations pretty well. Plus it explains a heck of a lot. There are references to vitiman deficiences, I had the blood test some time ago showing I had an iron and magnesium problem or something. Sufferers have trouble 'switching off' to sleep and sleep badly, I've been on sleeping tablets for ages just to nod off but wake up a lot. Suffers often oversleep as well, well I can sleep for 16 hours without blinking, and do when i've got days off from uni. Sufferers are irritable (not cynical I might add) and can be hostile. I put this down to my constant tiredness. Odd really. Needless to say, I've been branded as a sufferer because I fit the bill in the other departments too – like the section on substance abuse. But I still don't trust it.

My housemate Dave came up with a valid description the other day. Depression is a state of not caring, you have no energy to do anything and just don't want to. People who are depressed commit suicide when they start taking pills, because they've finally got something giving them the gusto to do it. Niche.

The victory refers to my constant refusal to swallow anything to help. Efexor Venlafaxine 37.5mg. I had a whole ton of them provided. Night and day. Happy in the day, sleepy at night. But over the course of the problem I've taken maybe 10 if that. Now, they've been taken away from me because they finally think I don't actually need them. They were only worth 30p each on the black market anyway. Arrr.

Personally, i'm almost there. One more group session to go and i'm free to continue without the label. I'm looking forward to it. Perhaps I'll throw an 'It's over' house party. Yay.

Second on this weeks list is letters. I had a letter from an old friend because he has no internet connection. Written on champagne paper and in lavender ink it really cheered me up immensly. The ancient art of letter writing should be resurrected for sure. I'm in the process of replying and i'm really enjoying it. The royal mail are on an offensive to make us love them and start writing again before they lose their monopoly and to be honest, I think we all should. Trust me, get some paper and write to someone. Your Mum probably is a good start. Or your grandparents. They'd love a letter I reckon. Go for it. It's not that scary.

Next up is the shakes. I'm trying to find a correlation between the shakes I get from alcohol and those I get from Coffee. Over summer I turned into a 'super strong coffee a morning man just to operate' living with a 'a whole litre of coffee and morning man just to operate'. I've come off it slightly but this morning I had the time so knocked some up. I'm now typing with shaky fingers. My body ovbiously can't take this amount of caffiene any more. Sob.

Alcohol shakes occur the morning after and can last the whole day (case in point was Sunday after muchos drinking). So maybe I should come to the conclusion that the shakes are a way of my body telling me to 'not even think about doing that again idiot'. Maybe I should pay more attention to myself.

Oh, and go and see the Wallace and Gromit film. The attention to detail is wonderful and the light hearted comedy is refreshing. I'll need to see it twice to pick up all the little jokes, like the brand of nail gun grommit uses is 'botch' or the antique shop called 'Rare Bits' in a film about rabbits. Masterful.

Cheers

Daniel


October 14, 2005

Places No–one Should Ever Have To Go

Hey,

This week, no I have not been wearing thongs, a very annoying thing happened….......that's rubbish, 'a very annoying thing happened' where did I learn creative writing…jeese.

Anyway, my resident case worker or as she is fondly known nuts person control (NPC) left my folder at our last meeting.

So, the phone conversation goes as follows:

Joan, you've left your folder here.
Really? Dammit. You've not read it have you?
Not yet.
What's that supposed to mean? I don't want you reading it. Understand me?
Why not, what the hell have you left behind?
It's all confidential paperwork. Just leave it, i'll collect it asap.
You've not had a problem showing me 'confidential' stuff before.
That's because what you've been allowed to see you can deal with right now.
Are you suggesting I couldn't deal with some stupid bits of paper?
They aren't stupid, how many times do I have to tell you.
Look, you can't leave it here and not expect me to read it surely?
Listen, it's your personal file ok. You're not supposed to see it at all.
….......................
Joan, i'll try not to read it, but I can't exactly promise I won't. That's the best you get.
Fine, but if you do, we could be in a lot of trouble. Second to that, I'm not overly keen on picking up the emotional pieces of anything that comes from you reading it.
Ouch, is it that good?
Don't be funny.
Just drop me a line when you can grab it.
…..bla bla bla

So, i've now had, read and had collected my personal 'nuts' file.

All I can say is, she was bloody right. That was in no uncertain terms, not a good idea.

It's very difficult not to take a lot of it to heart. Learning what someone else (a professional) thinks about you in some depth tends to shed some light on nasty shadows you want left in the dark. If your mind is open enough then some of what's said you can learn to admit and deal with.

Frankly, I'm just starting to attempt to figure out how I deal with what i've just read. My first thought is simply…............ouch.

I think my comfort Jumper, comfort food, comfort book and comfort TV is a good start.

Cheers

Daniel


October 10, 2005

Free Stuff!!!!!

Hey,

It's that time of year again folks. The careers fairs are in town.

As a seasoned professional, with three previous years experience under my belt this years careers fair was to be a masterful stroke of preparation and execution.

The objective, collect as much free stuff as possible and talk only to those people of interest.

So, hunting in pairs we moved in. After spending twenty quick minutes on the first visit we had managed to collect:

Many many pens…...mmmm…..pens
Two packets of mints
Lip balm
Pencils
An inflatable pillow
An apple
A box containing a coffee and tea kit with cereal bar
A mars bar
A glow stick!!! – Lloyds TSB win the best freebie award

The mars stand had cat food, snickers, maltesers, quick pasta and loads of other stuff. But I didn't feel that greedy.

Then, after the once round a later visit put pay to the fun of earlier on. As a finalist, in need of a job, it was time to do the serious bit as the careers fair for the first time took on its proper purpose. Curses, the real world awaits.

Tomorrow, we go again. More free stuff ahoy!

Cheers

Daniel


October 03, 2005

Sammy, Sammy, Sammy….......Sit, Sit, Sit

Hey all,

So, freshers week is over. Busy as it was. I've managed to inherit a cold from spending too much time on the middle of the Top Banana dance floor. Yes. There. Shut up.

In a shaky link (you'll see it in a bit) the new NintenDogs bundles arrived at work today. So, you get a brand new Nintendo DS in pink or blue with your choice of puppy breeds. Something like that anyway.

Needless to say, the pink DS is absolutely perfect. Not that i'm a big girl, it's just perfect for what it is. They must have tirelessly worked for the right shade of pink, the right colour layouts, everything. They are just a superb item to behold. Bit OTT you might think, but in context of what the item aims to do, it's flipping perfect.

So, there's me, with a pink DS in my hands and my eyes wide with appreciation. Next, pop in the daschund breed selection of dogs and start to play.

You start by going to the kennel and looking at whats on offer. The golden retriever took our fancy, so we chose that breed. Then, you go to the new puppy section and choose the particular puppy you want, all with their own personality traits. We chose a laid back young lady who like sleeping. Fantastic.

So thats it. Then you take the pup home. First task is to calm the nerves out of the puppy in its new locale. Then, you have to name it.

Picture the scene. Three men have in their hands a puppy. A golden retriever puppy.

"So, what shall we call her then?"
" I dunno"
"Well we need to call it something"
"Don't call her it"
"look, that's emotional attachment"
"shove off"
"No you shove off"
"Give me the puppy"
"No it's my turn"
….....................etc etc.

So, after much deliberation, by lunch time, we have a puppy called Sammy. Sandy Sammy.

You then have to teach Sammy her own name. You have to speak it into the microphone, then repeat it and she will come to you when you call that particular word. You need to repeat it over and over until she has learnt it. Then, she forgot it. So we started again.

Sammy didn't get her name straight away. You have to reward her when she comes to her name. Pavlov's dogs stuff.

Once she'd got that, it's time to teach her to sit (note the change in tone of this piece, Sammy is now very real….........gulp). Repeat the recording procedure and reward her when she's got the hang of it.

It all sounds remarkably simple. But it reduced three fully grown men to bumbling bafoons. I'm there with no voice due to this cold (shaky link) trying to get out the words 'Sammy' and 'sit down'.

In short, I don't care who you are, on some level, this thing is totally captivating. Any human being who couldn't develop an emotional attachment on some tiny level to one of these things is…........well….......dead.

I get to take Sammy for a walk this weekend. She's strictly Chris' dog. But he's letting me take her out to play with her ball and frisbee. Wicked.

Cheers

Daniel


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