One month later…

October 22, 2010

…and I’ve just run out of peppermint tea. Sad times. But I do have plenty of other teas, so I’ll survive. Also loving the postgrad tea room in my department, where else can you get hot drinks for 20p these days? Better than the 50p coffee from a machine that I was forced to make do with before!

But enough about that. Loads of things have happened over the past few weeks, but I’ve not had time to post here. I tried picking up the same number of new anime series that I usually do, but didn’t have enough time for them either, so I dropped a load. And my complete series/giant backlog of unwatched stuff  has hardly been touched. An MSc is a lot of work. Needless to say I can’t blog anime if I can’t watch it, I struggled badly enough when I had all the time in the world!

So yep, this post is just a reminder that I’m alive, and a way to kill time while my usual haunt is down for maintenance. Will there ever be a time when this is regularly updated again? I predict the answer to be yes, mainly on the days leading up to my deadlines, while sitting in doors procrastinating, and trying to forget that things like wind and rain exist.

I mean come on, why must people always try to turn everything to their advantage? Bad weather is annoying enough without people trying and failing to harness its natural, green energies, forcing me to have to write about it. All these advantages and disadvantages, most of which are subjective… Nuclear power is so much easier; it’ll either generate all the energy we could ever need, or wipe us off the face of the Earth. Win – win situation. Right? Right??

Return to Aberystwyth

September 27, 2010

So I’m now back in Aberystwyth, a student once more. Still adjusting to the unfamiliar surroundings that are my new house and bedroom. This move was a week later than planned, thanks to the previous occupant leaving the in no fit state for inhabitation, but I’d only planned on lazing around and watching anime in that time since registration + lectures don’t start until later this week. Now I’m being forced up to campus at 9:30 AM for an induction session the day after arriving, and I expect to be increasingly busy from then onwards.

And it seems that a delayed arrival wasn’t the only bad omen in store for me. I’ve already locked myself out once, forcing me to make my way to the landlady’s house barefoot and without my glasses (don’t ask). Thank goodness she lives just across the road. The fact that getting locked out supposedly happens to everyone doesn’t make me feel any less stupid, it just makes me empathize with the 100s of other idiots (mostly students I’d guess) who’ve probably made the same mistake today.

I had hoped that would be the end of my bad luck, but less than an hour ago I made myself a cup of tea (peppermint – haven’t bought any milk yet)… and my brand new cup started leaking. Cracked right down the side. It’s very reminiscent of my first ever day as a student in Aber, four years ago, when I managed to break the handle clean off a new cup. I ended up keeping that one as a desktop pencil holder for the three years that followed, and that’s what I’ll be using the cup I broke earlier for as well.

To top it all, I swear I was told by the landlady when I first visited the place that it had unlimited broadband. It isn’t, it has a 60 GB download limit. And since there’s 6 of us in the house, I’m can only use 10 GB of that or get into trouble with the other housemates when our connection gets slowed/stopped. Apparently the rest of the house uses some software to monitor their usage (and thus prove they’re not to blame if it happens), which I’ve requested they send to me too. As long as I’ve got that to keep count for me, I should be able to keep within my fair share.

But it’s not all bad. My room as it is now is definitely inhabitable, I’ll remember to keep my key on me whenever I lock my door in future, I have a new pencil holder, the three housemates I’ve met all seem nice, and the former occupant’s laziness/forgetfulness means that, as well as all the junk he left lying around that’s now been dumped, he’s also left behind plenty of potentially salvageable food, and a cup to replace the one I broke. WIN.

MSc Managing the Environment

July 1, 2010

I don’t remember mentioning this in any previous blog posts, bizarrely enough, but in September I’ll be taking up a place in Aberystwyth University on their MSc Managing the Environment course. Since I barely scraped through my degree (got lazy in my second year, but proved I could do better in my third) there was limited funding available to me, hence why I’m doing it this coming academic year instead of the one that’s just finished – I couldn’t afford it first time around. But failing to find a job in this time has made saving difficult, so while I was confident I could attend this year and leave without a major debt, I’d have to live like a monk. Good for mind, body, soul, and probably exam results too, but not for my social life or manga collection!

[EDIT] The second half of this post originally went on about a new voucher scheme which would have significantly decreased my tuition fees, but it seems my tutor was incorrect when he said I was eligible. 😦 Ah well, as I said I’m confident I can survive. I’ve a few old games, books and DVDs I could sell on ebay if desperate.

No photos yet, but…

May 19, 2010

All hail the Grand Shaman!

Alignment: Awesome Meh

May 18, 2010

Well the barbecue was awesome as expected, as were all the other things that happened during my almost-week at Aberystwyth. One of the highlights of it all was that I broke the ‘curse’ that seemed to afflict me during the three years I was actually a student there, by staying until the end of the barbecue. Well, technically I also did that in my first year, but was forced to separate from the group after we later went to a pub, and my underaged sister decided to down three (plus?) pints of Guiness… lame. But she wasn’t there this time. Neither was I excluded from the conversation, or struck down with food poisoning, so all was good! I didn’t take my camera, but I may post photos taken by others as and when I find them.

I left my house on Wednesday morning, the day I’m due at the job centre, because that meant I could get a day ticket and travel to Aberystwyth after signing on for cheaper. But while I was at the job centre, I was referred to another company called A4E (yes, the ones who ran the ‘call my bluff’ course I attended in the early days of my blog). The reason for this is because I’ve been out of work for 10 months, meaning they have to find me a mandatory work experience placement where I’ll be working 25 hours a week for 3 months. Which will be good for my CV, and I’ll be getting extra money in the form of a ‘training allowance’, and to top it all I no longer have to go to the job centre until the period of work experience ends. WIN. The only drawbacks will be less free time, and I’ll probably have to quit my current voluntary work at Plas Tan y Bwlch. 😦

Besides the barbecue, other things I did in Aber included going to Aberanime vice-president’s anime screening, which was fantastic (and since he’ll be president next year, and I’ll be a student again next year, this is a good sign); a few Pokemon battles, surprisingly I won three out of four; watched the live action film Onechanbara, which was so generic and predictable it wasn’t even funny; some nice walks around the seafront; a long game of D&D where we really didn’t accomplish much; but more than anything else we just sat down and chatted about random things. For example, what would be the best things to throw at an enemy castle? Starting off with lobbing bricks, via catapulting and trebucheting increasingly large items, we ended up with what was effectively an entire universe being propelled by rockets. I’m not sure what they were meant to have done to deserve all this, but they’d end up regretting it!

Another discussion focused on D&D alignments. The old ones, because they’re cool. For those who don’t know, your stereotypical Good and Evil alignments are further subdivided into Lawful and Chaotic. It’s the difference between righteous knights (Lawful Good) and, say, Robin Hood (who I’d think of as Chaotic Good). Anything that falls between Good – Evil or Lawful – Chaotic is Neutral. If you’re still confused, here’s a handy diagram:

So during this discussion, we came up with our own alignments based on this system: Awesome – Lame and Fabulous – Fugly, with everything in between being Meh.  We spent a long time fitting celebrities into these categories, debating with each other until we’d filled the grid with names nobody could dispute (so glad people agreed with me that Cheryl Cole = True Meh; I don’t dislike her, but think she’s hugely overrated). This was inevitably followed by us rating each other, and as the title suggests I was unanimously declared ‘Awesome Meh’. Which I think is pretty awesome. And a little meh. And now, exclusively to those people who read my blog, here’s one I made myself using anime characters.

Well that’s the best I could come up with in over an hour, anyway. Feel free to let me know whether you agree/disagree/don’t know who the heck certain characters are, or if you feel like making your own then here’s a blank grid. I may make one for female characters, but not tonight…

Aber, the expo and volunteering.

February 24, 2010

I’m posting later than planned, because that’s the way it usually happens when I’ve been away for a few days. All those fansubs to download, and all those job applications to quickly complete…

The time I spent in Aber was fantastic. Watching the film Aliens + the Korean live action Antique Bakery, playing loads of Pokemon and looking at the house that I’ll (hopefully) end up living in this September are a small selection of the fun things I did while there, but the expo was of course the highlight. I had planned on posting about it here, but other stuff has happened in the last week that also deserves a mention, so I’ll refer anyone who’s interested to a post I made on The Student Room about the event. Attending my first Aberanime screening in almost a year was fun too; all series I’d seen, but they were episodes that deserved rewatching. And it was more the social aspect I was there for, saying hi to old friends and making some new ones. I *think* all of the new committee members hugged me at least once during my stay, which I’ll take as a good sign. 😛

Tuesday was my first day volunteering at Plas Tan y Bwlch. And I ended up going ‘bramble bashing’. Brambles have always annoyed me (except when they’re full of blackberries, then it’s all worth it), but I now hate them with a vengeance. They’re one of those annoying plants that have to be dug up at the roots, or else they’ll keep coming back to life, so I spent all day trying to get them out of the ground and onto the fire. A fire which I was just upwind of… smoky. This random piece of ash blew into my mouth, tasted disgusting, and all I could taste was smoke for the rest of the day. But anyway, I got better at it as the day went on, and I think I successfully bashed ~75% of the ones I encountered. The area I covered was pretty small, but you’d struggle to find any brambles left there (above ground, at least). So I’m quite pleased with myself, considering I thought I’d be rubbish at it.

All this was a bit of a shock to my body though. By the time my lunch break came around, my back + left knee were killing me and I could barely walk. I really needed that hour to rest and recover, though since that day was different and the usual length of the lunch break is 30 minutes, I can’t get too used to it. I showed some signs of adapting after lunch though, as I went out and did the same thing for the same amount of time and still managed to walk out of there at the end of the day. Those aches and pains came back to haunt me today though…

Physical exhaustion aside, I’m surprised at how well I adapted mentally. I’ve spent the last 6 months watching anime or otherwise entertaining myself, all day every day. And all of a sudden I’m outside in the cold bashing brambles. And I just got on with it. I wouldn’t call it fun – there’s plenty of brambles around our house and I’ve not felt the urge to declare war on them – but it wasn’t boring either. So assuming I can keep that mindset going, I should have less problems adapting to the real world than I feared. And so I’ll be going back there tomorrow for more!

The one thing I’m struggling to adapt to, however, is the early starts…

Suddenly, I have things to do!

February 17, 2010

Today marks the beginning of the end of my incredibly lazy life of doing nothing but watching anime and searching for jobs. Tomorrow I’ll be signing on at the job centre as usual, then afterwards I’ll be heading for Aberystwyth again. About twice the length of my usual journey to Porthmadog and back, but it only costs about 60p more. Partly because Red Rover daily tickets are such a good deal, and partly because return tickets to Port are so ridiculously overpriced for some reason…

Upon arriving at Aberystwyth (at 3:30 PM if all goes well), I have no plans for the rest of Wednesday. I’m due to look at a house there early Thursday afternoon, because I can’t really return there to study for an MSc if I don’t have anywhere to live. Then in the early evening, I’m going to my first Aberystwyth Anime Society screening since graduating, which should be a mix of nostalgia and horror, as I look at all the series they’re showing and imagine what I’d have shown instead if I still had power. 😛 The social afterwards should prove a good chance to meet the new members, who I hope to get along with as I don’t want to feel left out during our main event…

…which doesn’t happen on the following morning. Aside from getting an early night, no plans for Friday at all. Then at some unearthly hour on Saturday morning, we’ll head off to catch the train to… Shrewsbury, where we have to get off and catch a bus due to rail maintenance. But this bus will take us to Telford, home of the Midlands MCM Expo! :mrgreen: Where I’ll buy moderate amounts of manga + anime, and no figurines. Because I’m meant to be saving for university. 😦 Meh, even the travel + entry costs are more than I’d usually spend on a weekend out. But it’s the one time since leaving uni that I’ve treated myself, so I’ll spend just enough to maintain balance between my stingy money-hoarding side and my obsessive-otaku side.

So after arriving back in Aber later that night, I’ll stay one more night there before heading back home on Sunday. I’ll then take Monday off to recover. And the day after that will be my first proper day volunteering at Plas Tan y Bwlch (see last Friday’s post if you missed me talk about that). I’ve decided to work Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays there from now on, in an attempt to get back into the habit of waking up early and being of use to somebody. Actually, that last point may be a first for me…

My next post will likely be on Sunday or Monday; with a long weekend like this ahead of me, I should have plenty to talk about when I return. Like all my (very few, very small) purchases.