All entries for September 2006

September 29, 2006

Why is British telly so pants?

It has been pointed out to me (on several occasions ) that British television is pants. Now, I’ll admit I hadn’t really ever thought about it to a great extent, I mean, you get what you’re given. But really, I just took a look through the Radio Times website for the week, and it’s 97% rubbish! With the exception of Spooks, I can’t name another programme that I would go out of my way to watch. (Having said that, Dr Who isn’t on at the moment.)

Now don’t get me wrong, we do get great programmes made by the UK (or collaboratively), like Spooks, Dr Who, Rome, Hotel Babylon, Life begins and Bleak House (not to all tastes, I’ll admit.) But the tripe we watch, and/or put up with – like Coronation Street, Bad Girls, and I’m a numpty (oops I mean “Celebrity”) get me out of here! We also have really good documentaries from Panorama on BBC and Dispatches on C4.

Then we get to US programmes. Some, (Rome, The West Wing, Desperate Housewives and 24) are all brilliant, others are diabolical. I am so pissed off with Lost it’s not funny (really, I no longer CARE that they’re trapped on an island, it’s probably the best place for them – shame we can’t put the creators on the island and leave them there,) and then we get all the other trash from the states. Jerry Springer, Diagnosis Murder (I have seen the light – it IS dire!), and Beauty and the Geek – Urgh!

The best thing about US shows: they generally have 22 episodes in a “season.” However, it has to be said, that the best-imported TV programme shown in the UK is, without a doubt, Neighbours! (Adam – don’t deny it, you love it!) But still, I want more good home-made television programmes – fingers crossed for Robin Hood!


September 23, 2006

My job update: Interviews three and four

Follow-up to My job update: Interviews one and two from John's blog

Interview Three
Interview three was on Thursday, with the chenical company in Malton, Oxfordshire. Eventually it was organised for 3pm, having been ‘being’ organised for a fortnight. It turns out (from what I made of the interview) that I was not what they were looking for. They wanted an organic chemist, and I am very much a physical chemist. I hadn’t much of a clue about the organic chemistry questions I was asked. Oh well.

Interview Four
Interview four was yesterday, for the position of Audit assistant, with the council. I think it wen’t quite well. There was a 30 minute IT test on Microsoft Word and Excel, followed by a 30 minute interview. The questions were pretty standard, and I think I came across well. I should hear from them on Monday.

UPDATE (26/09/06): I was unsuccessful with the council interview. I was very close, but pipped by someone who already worked at the council, and new their finance systems better. So really, they already had someone in mind for the role, but had to advertise it. Oh well.


September 22, 2006

The Black Dahlia

Movie image
Title:
The Black Dahlia
Rating:
3 out of 5 stars

Well, on Wednesday night TA and I went to see the Black Dahlia at the cinema. My god it was confusing.

I won’t go over the story in any detail, because I really can’t be sure I’d get it right, although it was entertaining and funny (in places,) about thirty minutes in, you start to wonder what the hell is going on. Although, when TA starts to tell you once you’ve exited the cinema, things slowly begin to make sense.

The plot revolves around the strange murder of a young girl, who looks uncannily like the daughter of a Hollywood property tycoon, but it is a bit more complicated, due to the corruption of a member of the police force…

So, yes see it, but take your thinking caps with you!

You can read more on our Doing Stuff blog!


September 21, 2006

The Children of Men

Title:
Rating:
5 out of 5 stars

I think it is obvious why I chose to read this book now. Yes, it is because I think the film looks brilliant, and I wanted to get in there with the book, as I often find the book better than the film, and didn’t want my reading of it spoiled in that sense.

The volume has two distinct “books,” part one is called Omega, and part two, Alpha. The first gives a history of the situation the world is in by 2021. Mankind is infertile, and this lead to the rise of the Omega generation. The last generation of babies to be born during the 1990’s, and they now have a status almost of deity. The protagonist in this tale is Theo, a cousin of the ‘Warden of England,’ Xan, who is in all but name, dictator. Xan has introduced measures to keep the country safe, and let mankind die out in dignity. This includes the Man penal colony on the Isle of Man, for those with any criminal tendencies, the Quietus, the mass assisted suicide of the elderly – supposedly voluntary, and the compulsory fertility testing of men and women in a hope of finding someone fertile to continue humanity.

A radical group who want changes to the system, an end to the compulsory fertility testing, an end to the Quietus (which isn’t so voluntary, and some authority in the Man penal colony contacts Theo. The five fishes as they are called, ask Theo to persuade Xan to implement changes, which Xan implies he will look into, but tells Theo not to bank on any changes. This isn’t good enough for the Five Fishes, who then set about blowing up the Quietus docks, leading to an investigation by the state police….

This book is superbly written, and captivates you with the thrill of the story. You might not think it goes anywhere in the first few chapters, but this scene setting becomes vitally important to your understanding of the relationship between Xan and Theo, and the moral undertones of the novel. I highly recommend it, and I hope the film can live up to my expectations.


September 20, 2006

My job update: Interviews one and two

Follow-up to An intervieW? from John's blog

Ok, so to update, I have applied to one more job in the last fortnight, with an accountancy company in Exeter. But more importantly, I have had several interviews!

Interview One
The first was with Jardine Lloyd Thompson in Exeter, working as a Pensions Administrator. I was recommended through one of the agencies I have joined. Anyway, I went for interview, and it lasted 2hrs 20 minutes. It was tiresome and boring, and after about 2hrs I had given up, and started to “umm,” “ahh” and nod in what I hope were the right places. I don’t think I’ll be offered the job, and if they do, I’m unlikely to take it.

Interview Two
The second interview was with the Inland Revenue in Newton Abbot, as an Administrator. I want this job, and the interview went very well I though. I arrived the specified 20 minutes before the interview, to fill in the forms that they required, before having a quick ten minute interview, with two questions, one on teamwork, one on organisational skills.

UPDATE: I have been offered the job at HMRC, starting on the 2nd Ocotber for 6 months. Wahey – I have a job at least!


September 18, 2006

[spooks]

TV image
Title:
[spooks]
Rating:
5 out of 5 stars

Wow, what a brilliant start to the new series.

The story was fantastic, very sensational, and slightly scary in a “could that really happen? Maybe it could!” kind of way. I admit I only saw fifteen minutes of the first episode due to a power cut (I was mighty pissed off), but what I did see was excellent. The new woman Ros looks like a toughie, which is just what Adam needs, someone to challenge him. Was the killing of Colin really necessary though?

The second part (which I saw all of!) was FANTASTIC – the start with the plane collision imminent really got the nerves going, as I sat on the edge of the sofa chewing my nails and flinching with every punch in the fight between Zaf and the evil MI6 guy. (Who, it is nice to note, Zaf knee caps with a baseball bat at the end of the episode!) I was slightly disappointed with the lack of punishment for the traitors, and poor Juliet is now slightly crippled – which is a shame because I secretly like her as a character, she might be a “ruthless right-wing crazy who’ll stop at nothing” as Harry put it, but she’s the one you love to hate!

On a sad note, I found out that my favourite character (Ruth) is leaving this series (Nicola Walker became pregnant during filming), so I hope for once they let someone go without a struggle – maybe she should just be sent back to GCHQ. PLEASE Don’t Kill her off!


September 16, 2006

Warwick STILL has my money!

I want my money back – and Warwick is taking ages about it.

The money in question is the £150 deposit I paid to cover my year in my PLU house. Well, I have now graduated, and nearly three months down the line, I still haven’t received it. I filled in the little form left for me by the lady who did the house inspection, and I returned it in person to the Undergraduate Office in University House. Nothing. Absolutely nothing.

So over three weeks ago, I emailed the accommodation office to find out what had happened, this was the reply.

I do not know what has happened to your deposit, it was passed this end in full but I am not able to access Finance records. I will ask my colleague to investigate tomorrow and providing we have all your details on our accounts (bank account name, address, sort code and account number) we will fast track your deposit for next week. This means it should be in your account by Saturday 16th September.

So, where is it – I don’t know, but I don’t have it yet, and if I don’t get it I am going to want some interest on it. I think it only fair, seeing as we had to make sure all our debts were clear before we were allowed to graduate – not that I had any, but that’s not the point.


September 11, 2006

Road trip around the bay…

Ok, firstly, for those of you not in the know, Carcassonne, as well as being a fortified city in southern France, is a tile laying game of German origins. The principle is to lay tiles to make castles, roads, fields and cloisters to score more points at the end of the game. Anyway, I raise this because at the weekend I visited Adam and Troë in Bournemouth, and we played a few games, and Adam stole victory off me by 4 points – 4 points! – But I won the last game we played, more by luck that tactics I think, but I won!

Bournemouth was really cool, even if it did take me three hours to get there on Friday afternoon, getting lost in the town, and asking directions twice before I got to Adam and Troë’s apartment. (But it only took 2 hours to get home on Sunday night!)

On Saturday we went into town shopping, and Adam got a cool flat cap from H&M. They both then treated me to lunch at Coriander, which was really nice. I had a Chili con Carne Enchilada followed by Strawberry Pavlova, Troë had Spicy Chicken Enchilada followed by Mocha Nachos, and Adam had Chicken wings to start followed by Spicy Chicken Enchilada. All very tasty!

Whilst walking through “The Square” we stopped to watch a street “entertainer” – he was pants. And I mean big pants. He was rude to everyone, his jokes weren’t funny, and his routine, which without the tripe would have been 15 minutes (if that) lasted about 40! He was awful, but still people gave him money at the end! We also watched American Dreamz (yes that’s “dreams with a zee,”) which was really funny, and Lucky number Slevin, which after the first blood splatter was pretty tame, but enjoyable.

Sunday was cool too. We went into town again to get “Slushies” which turned out to be not so good – they weren’t how I remember Slush Puppies to be – Adam certainly was disappointed, but he perked right up after we found him a Comic Book store in Poole. He can start to feel at home now!


September 07, 2006

An intervieW?

Follow-up to The perpetual jobseeker… from John's blog

Yes that’s right!

Since the news yesterday about the potential work at the Environment Agency laboratory down the road, I’ve been hoping they wouldn’t call. Not that I would mind the job, I could certainly do it, but I don’t think I would enjoy it, and I have applied to jobs that I want to do more. Anyway, they haven’t called.

ReedBut, Ben from Reed Scientific called me this morning to tell me about a six month fixed-term contract with a company based in Oxford wanting a chemistry graduate. Well, he sent me the link to their website, looked around it and it seems quite an interesting company which is currently expanding. Anyway after a quick redraft of my CV, Ben sent it to the company who said they would like to see me for an interview.

UPDATE (15/09/06): Well, I still haven’t heard about the Oxford job, so I’m giving up on it.

UPDATE (18/09/06 – 11:00): Ben from Reed is setting up the interview for Thursday, around 14:00 ish.

UPDATE (18/09/06 – 17:30): No news to confirm day and time. This is getting stupid. If I’ve heard nothing by midday tomorrow, I’m emailing Ben to call the whole thing off!

UPDATE (19/09/06 – 15:00): Ok, I didn’t email Ben but I did comment on the ineptitude of this interview arrangement when he called. He’s confirmed Thursday afternoon for interview, at either 14:30 or 15:00 – he’s calling back to confirm – how long will it take him???

UPDATE (20/09/06 – 12:45): Right, there is now a time, a date and a place confirmed – even if it is very last minute, supid nonces. What’s more it only took Ben 21 hours and 45 minutes to get back to me! So tomorrow at 3pm, I have the interview…


September 06, 2006

The perpetual jobseeker…

BP

I am currently completing applications for BP and the Foreign Office in the search for a job – these are graduate programmes though, so I still need a stop cap in the mean time, but I haven’t had much luck on that front.

I did go to the job centre and picked up an application form for a temporary position with HMRC in an administrative capacity, and I also trawled through the local paper and Guardian job sections, finding a couple of potentials, for which I have emailed off for more information, so fingers crossed.


However, I have had a call from Reed Scientific about an application I made to work at the local Environment agency laboratory. I should hear tomorrow if they want me. There won’t be an interview, it will be an on the job assessment over a few weeks to see how I get on. Not my ideal job, but a job none the less.

On the plus side, good luck to Troë, TA and Clare with their new jobs, (I envy you, really I do!) and good luck to Adam, who joins me on the job hunt…


September 2006

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