Monday, 14 February 2011

Ah...the joys of free time

Now that my exams are finished I, yet again, find myself with free time on my hands.  What do I find myself doing? laying about catching up on my favourite shows! I know, I know I should be out enjoying my freedom, but I needed some time to relax and its raining outside.

Excuses out the way, I figured I'd do the typical "favourite show" post as that's what I've spent my day doing so far.  I've recently been introduced to White Collar, a show reminiscent of many of my other favourite shows (The Mentalist, Castle) where a civilian joins a police task force as a consultant; in this instance a con man helps out the FBI in return for custodial release.  I do like the consultant being a con twist they have and the underlying story behind it keeps it interesting.  The two lead characters have good rapport and banter between them which helps it to stand out from the pack and they often give me a little chuckle.

Also Californication's back on, this is easily one of my favourite shows, if not my favourite.  Hank Moody is simply a great character, very very funny and David Duchovny truly brings him to life.  If you haven't seen it I would recommend it to anyone (not just guys, I also know plenty of girls who love it too!).

Now I just need to wait for the Entourage to return, shame it's the last season!

Thursday, 10 February 2011

holiday booked

One of my better purchases this year was my new snowboard, I bought a 2011 Ride Antic at the start of the year and have yet to try it out.  So the news that I've booked my snowboarding holiday this year is doubly welcome.  Snowboarding holidays are by far my favourite kind of holidays and I would gladly forsake a summer holiday in exchange for hitting the mountain.  There's just something thrilling and freeing about the experience, the adrenaline and endorphin rush definitely adds to the feeling of joy.

This year we're hitting Arabba in the Italian Dolomites just before Easter, a resort connected to the famous Sella Ronda Circuit, a massive ski trail going round the Dolomites so there's no fear of us getting bored with the area.  Never boarded in the Dolomites so will be an experience and I hear good things about the resort.

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

An unusual lack of pressure

As my final exam draws ever closer you would think I would be eagerly awaiting the end to the stress and pressure associated with exams.  While this, to an extent, is true, I am looking forward to the end so that I have nothing pressing on my mind, it's not fully accurate.

As I have noted in previous posts, I'm not feeling as much pressure as perhaps I should for this last exam.  It hasn't really incited the stress and therefore failed to elicit the motivation to revise like previous exams have.  For some reason I felt like my exams were over after my previous exam.  Weird, but helps to explain why I was working so hard for previous ones but not to the same degree for this one.  Especially as my nature is that of generally only being able to work well, and for long periods, when under pressure.  Nevertheless I am still looking forward to being able to be my usual lazy self, catching up on some reading, TV shows, gaming and the general goings on of the internet.  Oh and of course I look forward to getting staggeringly drunk in celebration of the end of exams!

Monday, 7 February 2011

Petrol Prices

As Peter Griffin would say: "You know what really grinds my gears?"

I remember the days back in 2006/7 when the UK petrol prices were below 90p per litre.  I also remember the fuel crisis we had sometime back around the millennium where there was a supposed lack of fuel and the prices sky-rocketed and there were mass protests.  Today prices are hitting £1.30 a litre and with declared tax increases by the government will probably rise further by around 5p.  As far as I'm aware this isn't due to demand and supply like the last crisis; this is just because that's what the fuel companies are deciding to charge, and as they all go along with it, we don't have a choice.  This rise in prices, linked with the recession, makes for a trying time.  However, this time around we simply take the blow with only the occasional mumble to our cohorts and get on with filling our cars, while small business everywhere are forced to shut down as they can't afford the petrol prices needed to fuel vital deliveries that are key to their business.

Now I'm at uni, which is over 110 miles away from my home, it makes a pretty expensive round trip.  Especially for a student.  The main reason for this post is that while I try and keep my long distance trips to a minimum to conserve money, there are times and events that require my attendance, or at the very least I don't want to miss. A couple of these events are coming up in this month and will likely drain my already limited funds.  Luckily I have some friends who are also up for the trip to help split the cost, but it still annoys me.

Why not take the train? Well I could do if it fit my schedule better but to be honest the train prices aren't much cheaper.  A little anecdote I find funny helps to highlight this point.  Last year National Rail, (who run the railway services in Britain) while planning their company Christmas party, decided against using the trains to transport their staff to and from the venue, they decided on hiring coaches as the trains were too expensive.

Anyway this was on my mind today as I've been trying to make arrangements to go to rare get together with a large group of friends, and I felt like sharing.  I understand supply and demand, and petrol has a relatively price inelasticity; if we, the public, are willing to pay these prices then why shouldn't they charge them.  However I don't think the government should compound the problem by increasing taxes surrounding petrol, they're just kicking us when we're down.

Sunday, 6 February 2011

Once again wasting time

Here I am again, with my final exam drawing ever closer, writing another blog post and once again just generally wasting time.

I often find myself scouring blogs or Wikipedia for things that interest me.  It will start out with an interest in a certain subject or topic and I will find myself clicking link after link, and going off on tangents; I end up reading about things that are not at all related to the initial topic, but none the less interesting.  I can often spend hours doing this; hours some would say much better spent revising or working, but not to me.  I can never see a thirst for knowledge as a waste of time, for by increasing your own knowledge base you are bettering yourself (or at least that's how I justify it to myself!).

It was by this that I came across a post talking about a book by Neil Fiore about procrastination (a topic well known by me!).  Instead of attributing it to laziness that can simply be cured by a good old fashion dose of hard work, he delves deeper into the psychology of it.  He associates procrastination as a mechanism for coping with anxiety, especially that stemming from starting or completing a task.  He sees it as a method of resisting pressure from authorities, as a method of lessoning fear of failure by providing you with a decent excuse for poor performance; you simply didn't try very hard.

I find this idea intriguing and when applied to myself probably largely true.  I often put off work and keep putting it off until the pressure truly mounts and I find myself rushing frantically, reprimanding myself for not starting sooner.  Yet despite this, I never learn and will continue with this behaviour every time after.  I have always been one who did well in school, doing well in my GCSEs with minimal effort and well in A-Levels without increasing that effort level.  However this started to cause problems when I hit uni and the work became significantly harder, yet my effort levels didn't increase.  In fact I probably now find more things to distract myself with.

Is all this a bad thing? Probably. Will I regret not working harder later in life? Quite possibly, but for now it is exactly what I wanted so I hold no regrets.

As the English philosopher Bertrand Russell once said - "the time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time" an adage I choose to live by.


So I've been in the middle of my final year uni exams for the past few weeks and despite buying fable 3 when it came out, hadn't even opened the polythene wrapper until the other day.  So basically the last week was the first opportunity I had to play.
Okay, I lie.

I could have taken my xbox home with me over Christmas, I mean I had the better part of a month doing pretty much sweet fa.  However, due to my procrastinating nature I didn't pack until 5 minutes after I was meant to leave, so I couldn't be bothered to sort my xbox and the endless tangled wires out on top of everything else.

So anyway.
This week was the first real opportunity where I felt I was free from revision, although I still have one more exam to go but surely 3 weeks of revision is enough! my motivation is pretty much completely gone right now.
I finally sit down and turn on the 360 and it boots up normally, I eject assassins creed and slot in fable, close the tray and load into the game.  It's all going well..until the xbox resets itself and when its back on, the dashboard is pretending that there is no disc in the drive.  In fact it's saying not only is there no disc, the drive is open which is a complete lie.  This has happened before, but usually I just leave it and a few hours/a day later and its fine and dandy again.
Not this time.

Maybe it had something to do with me getting annoyed and hitting it I don't know, sure we can start pointing the finger but it wont solve anything.  Anywho my xbox is a good 4/5 years old so waaaayy out of its warranty so I decided to browse the web for others in my situation.  The common thought seems to be that the drive is kaput so I take this opportunity to feel like a man.  Out comes the toolbox (after watching several youtube videos to get a decent grasp of what I was doing of course!).  I check all the connections on the drive, plug them in securely and give it another go....same result.

It's time to order a new drive, £20 on ebay, not bad in my mind.  Only when I go to pay it seems paypal didn't like me buying Magicka off of Steam the other day and has decided that I need to update all my accounts; verify the lot.  The final step is that it wants to phone my billing address home phone number (where I'm currently not living) as confirmation.

Can't do that for a while then.  So after the Xbox breaking now paypals turned on me...way to kick me when I'm down.  Oh and btw Magicka wont even work on my laptop as it doesnt support my the graphics card so I can't even play that.

 It's been a good week.

....and so it begins

I've always been interested in writing but was never sure what to do... so here I go, writing about whatever random and quite possibly undeniably pointless thing that is capturing my attention at this moment in time.  So here I go!

It always amazes me how I can wake up after a decent nights sleep (fine you got me...lets say 5 hours sleep) and I still feel absolutely shattered.  Move forward 15 hours or so and its now past midnight and here I am going strong, not a yawn in sight.  Not only that, but if I decide its getting late and its time I hit the sack, try as I might I can't fall asleep.

Oh and another thing, I hate people who can just get into bed, close their eyes and fall asleep instantly! How do you do it?!? You have to tell me your secret!  It's worst when in bed with someone else who can fall asleep instantly leaving you restless yet not wanting to squirm for fear of waking them up.  On most nights I have to try like hell to fall asleep, on average probably taking me at least an hour.  My problem you see is that my mind just doesn't shut up. I shut my eyes and off it goes, whirring away.  I actually often think I get some of my best thinking done while I'm trying to fall asleep.  But I digress....

As I was saying I obviously need to find a job in something that really interests me. While at work I often find myself, after a late night, in a meeting with my boss trying my utmost not to yawn.  I end up trying to sneak one in every so often when she looks away....trying to be really sneaky...when she blatantly knows.  Yet 7 hours later I'm browsing the net or playing a game and totally forgot that hours before I was about to keel over.

I always seem to feel the most tired when I am somewhere that offers no opportunity to have a nap.  That's the way of the world I suppose...always leaving you wanting something  you don't have or the ability to do something you can't.