Another Long Week

Well it’s Friday again, and I’m on the train down to Nottingham. I have some time now to myself, to think, to reflect, and to write an entry for my blog!
This week was very intensive. I did an all-nighter Sunday night, and another Tuesday night. I racked up more than 80 working hours this last week, so effectively did two weeks work in one. This whole last month I’ve been averaging 60 hours a week.
It’s pay day today though, and I’ve got a rather large pay packet coming to me, so I’m happy. ^_^ The drinks are definitely on me tonight!!
I’ve been doing some really excellent work recently, and because of it I’ve got another promotion. I’m now the design authority for the Enterprise Project Management system I am producing, which means a lot more authority and responsibility. Hopefully another pay rise too; I’m talking to the boss about that next week.
So we are now examining the next phase of functionality. I’m writing documentation and getting everything ready for security auditing. We have to comply with BS779 because of the restricted and secret information that is being held on the system. We are entering an exciting stage of the project and I’m really looking forward to getting onto the next lot of functionality.
But enough about work. According to Nikkie I am now officially the best boyfriend in the world. Because I’ve been so busy this last week I haven’t been able to call her as much as I would like. She has been really busy too, doing her neurology placement in a hospital in Boston. She’s been feeling a little sad that we have both been too busy to keep in better contract, so to cheer her up I got a dozen red roses delivered to the ward she was working on in the hospital . She said she got such a shock when they arrived, and has had a massive grin on her face ever since. I’ve had a massive grin of my face all day too knowing about the surprise she would get. I can’t wait to get to Nottingham and see her.
In other news I talked to mum and Fragma last night for about an hour each. It’s the first time I talked to either of them on the phone since I got back from Australia! I know! How bad of a son/friend am I!! Mum had a lot of news to tell, and we chatted for ages. She told me that she had received a thing from the University of Queensland saying that I had been admitted to the Dean’s Honour Roll for my Bachelor of Business Management, which I thought was a scream. I hardly use my Engineering degree, let alone my Business one. I guess it’s good to put on my CV, but I still think of it as a bit of a joke considering the amount of work I put into it. Mum said she lost the lapel pin that came with it, but I told her not to worry. I’m never going to wear it.
After speaking to mum I called Fragma at work. He works harder than I do the crazy man! Nikkie reckons it is all his fault that I am working this hard. She says he is a bad influence on me :). We chatted about all my friends back home, what they are up to, what new things that have been happening. We also chatted the normal bollocks that we do. It was great to talk to him again. I’ve got to stop being so slack and call my friends back home more. I think I’ve only called Ads and Wulfen once or twice each, and Fragma only a few more times than that. I left some really great friends behind in Aus and I really need to start making more of an effort to keep in touch.
With that thought in mind I’m going to finish this blog entry here and spend my remaining battery power writing emails all of those friends of mine who have been slipping away recently. Expect an email soon guys!

These little piggies went to Amsterdam

This is Nikkie. Michael asked me to do a guest entry so here goes…
The physiotherapy course is so hectic that this is the first time in a year that we have been privileged enough to have been given a week off while all the other students are busy celebrating the arrival of an 18 week summer holiday. I grabbed the opportunity to whisk Jade, my best friend and housemate, off to Amsterdam for a wild night out to celebrate her 21st birthday. Before our adventure could commence, we had to endure painstaking revision and an exam which took place on the Wednesday morning (1st June) at 8.45am.
Jade and I were both very nervous for the practical exam as you never have enough time to think and appear a fool if you don’t have the answers at the drop of a hat. The exam consists of a case scenario, 15 minutes thinking time and then joining the examiners to discuss all the relevant anatomy and clinical reasoning to arrive at an appropriate diagnosis. Next, you discuss a management plan and have to demonstrate 2 treatment techniques on a model. Finally, after what seems like forever, you document everything done with the patient, including treatment dosage, gained consent, safety tests, advice given and when you would next like to see them. Jade and I were given the same scenario of a patient with tension headaches so we came out of the exam intrigued as to what treatment we had each given. Luckily, we both appeared to administer the same treatment for similar reasons, so with that out of the way we left to get ready for our trip!
I drove, for the first time, up to Liverpool. We arrived, after a relatively stress free journey to the city but as we approached Michael’s flat, things became slightly more traumatic. At this point it is fairly relevant to mention that Michael has lived in Liverpool for 5 weeks but still appears to walk around with his eyes closed, hence the reason he (and Graeme) will be blamed for getting us lost! We ended up travelling around a roundabout 5 times until they could meet us there and take us the right way!
So, we eventually arrived at the flat, piled our belongings up the 3 flights of stairs and headed out for some lunch in a typical English café. The boys left shortly to return to work and us girls took the opportunity for some light shopping before our lift to the airport. Jade and I are both fanatical about fashion and the idea of retro and vintage clothing delights us! As a result, spotting 4 charity shops to rummage through determined the activities of the following few hours. At around 5pm, the boys had finished work for the day and we hopped in the car, laden with plastic bags full of vintage 1940’s purses, tops, scarves and the odd few bits including a wooden elephant names Widnes! So much for the light shopping trip!
Graeme and Michael dropped Jade and I off at Liverpool’s John Lennon airport and I managed to shop as soon as we got there, buying a fantastic golden yellow leather handbag. We boarded the plane at 7pm and by 11pm were sat in a bar in Amsterdam.
An exam at 8.45am in a British university, and barring in Amsterdam by 11pm – I love Europe!
Staying in a cheap hostel in the red light district ensured we were surrounded by lots of young people. We quickly re-applied some lip-gloss and changed our shoes to heels and headed out. Passing the local chippy, we were unable to resist the classic Dutch chips and mayo. I got back into the swing of the language and was soon chatting to the chip-shop man only having slight difficulty understanding the Amsterdam dialect, which is very different to that I am used to. Once our appetites had been satisfied, we followed the crowds past some very sexy and virtually naked women in doorways to a bar for a beer. Soon after our arrival we began chatting to the barman who, much to our disgust, told us we were not in a ‘green’ café, although smoking in there was permitted. We rushed off to find somewhere selling pre-rolled joints, as neither of us were in any fit state to start rolling ourselves. On the recommendation of the guy behind the counter, whom I now realise we should never have trusted, we bought 4 joints for the equivalent of about £10. Back in the previous bar we lit up and began to chat to a bunch of Aussie men. It amazed me how many Australians there were in Amsterdam, most travelling Europe after uni. Mindless chit chat revealed that these particular guys were all living in London as teachers although one had flown in from Sydney that afternoon. They were a laugh and bought us a couple of drinks so we decided to stick with them for a while. By about 1am, we had broken off and un-surprisingly only two guys remained. We visited a few more bars, smoked and drunk a bit more while playing cards in a chilled bar. The lads knew where our hostel was, as they were in the same one, so we began our walk home. We were halfway there when Jade was cornered by one of the lads and had to apologise that he must have got the wrong idea from her. Realising that he was not going to get anywhere with her that night, he swiftly left. The other guy, however, was more persistent and we had to team up to get rid of him, which we eventually did by hiding in our dorm!
Although I had shared a dorm with mates on camping trips ( I was in the scouts) and on school trips, nothing quite prepared me for this. It was a dorm of 20 beds and great fun. We sat up a while chatting crap due to our stoned and drunken state when we over heard a couple arguing over a guy having been in a peep show instead of meeting up with his girl! I’m sure this would have still amused me sober but we were both having serious difficulty in resisting laughter and continued to listen to the bickering trying to work out whether the guy’s story was genuine or he had in-fact been in a sex show as his lady was stating! By about 3am we got ready for bed and fell into light, interrupted sleep.
We awoke at 8am with the sun streaming into the room and the dorm already half empty. After showering and attempting to make ourselves look remotely human we wandered downstairs for a full English breakfast, and a mug of incredibly strong tea. Our persistent friend from the previous night pulled up a chair questioning us about where and when we were leaving Amsterdam. Making quick excuses and ensuring we were sufficiently dosed up with caffeine we walked in the direction of the main shopping street – Kalver straat. I had been to Amsterdam previously with relatives living nearby so was slightly more orientated than the average tourist and we found Kalver straat fairly quickly. We shopped, had some lunch in the Vroom and Dressmann restaurant, a definite must for a cheap detoxifying meal, and shopped some more. After a few more trips to the cash-point and laden with bags, we returned to the red light district for some major vintage shopping. I got a pair of ankle height grey slouch boots which I had been on the hunt for ages. All in all, we spent over £200 of our student overdrafts on clothes and accessories, all very worthwhile! After all, you spend what money you actually have, and then the bank decides to give you more! No, I don’t always have such a lax attitude to money but do find it very hard to resist a bargain!
By 5pm we were exhausted and grabbed our bags from the station lockers and returned to Schipol airport for a ‘maccy D’s’ (Mcdonalds) and to catch our flight home. We landed back in Liverpool at 10pm and were greeted by the boys who drove us back to Michael’s flat. Shattered from our adventure we went to bed and slept soundly.
The following morning, Michael strolled into work at 10am and Jade left to rush back to Manchester to grab fresh clothes for a night out with some old friends in Newcastle! I, on the other hand, pottered around the flat with my eyes half closed all day trying to recover from abusing my body so much.
The next few days have consisted of more pottering and trying to get Michael’s hole of a flat slightly more liveable! I have cleaned, washed, tidied and sorted but this is the first and last time I will do, so he will have to become domesticated from now on! We did a very ‘grown-up’ shop of cleaning products yesterday evening which Michael clearly needed some guidance on – he was shocked to discover that bathroom and kitchen cleaner were different! My work here is definitely challenging!
On Saturday night we visited Liverpool’s night life which I definitely felt was something else! I felt like I was in Ibiza, obviously without the gorgeous weather, it was very surreal. We sat in a square outside surrounded by bars and a very concentrated amount of gorgeous people. The women were all slim, verging on the border of too slim, had all been bronzed, either by a bottle or some hard work on a sun bed, and were made up with very expensive looking clothing. Graeme, Ben and Michael, un-surprisingly, were in awe of them all, [Editor’s Note: I was more in awe of my fantastic girlfriend of course!- Wigs], as was I, but my eye was placed more on enjoying the surrounding fashion statements. I must state though, the women were some of the best I have ever seen, obviously not including celebs, models etc, only with the downside of the Liverpudlian accent! The men were incredibly well groomed and also in expensive clothing. The music was brilliant, Michael said that it was much like the dance music ‘back home’. Being out with the lads I had to keep up with the pace of drinking which, with a reputation of a lightweight I did quite well, going drink for drink with them. Overall, Liverpool was a great night out, expensive but great.
Our trek home left much to be desired. We caught the night bus home after waiting for a taxi for over an hr. On the walk home from the bus stop we got separated losing Ben, our other scouser housemate who had come home for the summer, and fell asleep with him not having returned to the flat. We woke with a startle the next morning realising Ben was still not home. I dressed hurriedly, on a bad hangover, to jog around and try and find him. Michael eventually got him on his mobile at the same time as I came across him asleep in the back of his car! Safe, but still very very pissed he came up to the flat to sleep off the alcohol. I went for a 20minute run along the beach and came back when Michael and I decided to return to bed till 3pm. Another crazy but fantastic night out.
To think that a year ago, I was still in Newark Hall, had only known Michael 6 months, was a fresher and living a very dependant life shows how much things can change. Life is fantastic but it has been hard to get to this point; I considered dropping the physiotherapy course during the harder times, Michael moved 3 hrs away from Nottingham just when we finally got together, I moved house and Graeme’s changed university course. The summer is only a month away, I have one more outpatients placement to get through and then I will be back in Liverpool living and working here for 6 weeks. Third year will be here sooner than later and then I’ll be a qualified physiotherapist and will have to become even slightly responsible! On second thoughts, I’ll delay that as long as I can, go travelling, live a little before pinning myself to a 9-5 job. The end of university is so close, yet so far. I’m only two thirds through it and things have changed so much since arriving in September as a fresher.
Change is good. Hard but good.

The Party Is Over

University is over. It’s time to retire that category I think. I doubt I’ll be writing anything else University related any time soon.
I’ve been lazing about the last week. Well partying about is more apt a description. I decided to take last week completely off, have a holiday, a break, a brief hiatus from the stresses of the real world. So I partied hard the first weekend after my exams, and went out almost every night last week. I hardly got any sleep, and feel great for doing it. We went out to Bar BZA, The Works, Dogma, and a bunch of other places. On Friday night we went out to Ocean. We went there almost every Friday night all of last term, but hadn’t been yet so far this term. It was the same as I remembered, crap music, but a lot of fun. Viki had her camera and took a bunch of pics… and here they are! First Picture, Second Picture, Third Picture, Fourth Picture.
So the party is over. I’ve got to settle down now. My task this week, and the following week, and the week after, and for as many weeks after that as needed to succeed, is to get a job. I need to start working if I want to remain in this country. I’m going to try my hardest to stay in Nottingham, I don’t want to leave here, leave the friends I’ve made. This will make it more difficult to get a job, but I’m going to do my best. I want to stay here. I don’t know what will happen, where things will lead, but I know I want it to happen here.
Written while listening to Crazy Sunshine by The Pillows.

It’s A Bit Fuzzy

Where do I start?
I’m only just sobering up.
I didn’t sleep Thursday night. I was procrastinating as usual, and hadn’t done any real study yet. I had two exams the next day, and they were my last exams ever. So I stayed up all night, did a little bit of study, and then set off to Uni for my 9am exam. The exam went well, thankfully the questions I had prepared for came up, so I am pretty sure I managed to pass. I couldn’t wait to get out of there though, and as soon as 11am cranked round, I got up and fled that exam room as fast as possible. I met up with Bruce and Ben, who also had 9am lectures and we went down to the Ark, the student union bar. Let the silliness begin!
We got in there, grabbed a seat, grabbed a beer, and started to kick back. That morning’s exam was Ben’s last and Bruce didn’t have another one until Saturday. Nikkie and Viki soon came and joined us, both of them having no exams to do either. And so I drank beer and got progressively drunk. While I was getting drunk, I pulled out my text book and past exam papers for Computer Security. I had my final exam starting at 4:30pm that afternoon and I was planning on doing it completely drunk! I also had to do some form of study for it. I wasn’t really worried. I figured I could go in and do most of it with my eyes closed. For an advanced subject it was pretty straight forward. However I wanted to be sure I could answer it in my increasingly drunken state. My friends thought I was crazy, but I’ve been so damn responsible my entire university career I wanted for once, for this final time, to do something really stupid. So I drank my beer, and then drank another, and drank some more.
I spent almost five hours in the Ark, and I lost track of how many pints I had. I think Ben, Bruce and I bought two rounds each, but I can’t be sure. When it approached 4:30 though I left the other’s and went to my exam, almost falling over on the way. I don’t know how I managed it, but for a full hour I went into overdrive. I was in a drunken state of power writing. My booklet was almost full by the time the exam was over. When the time was up, I stood up, managed not to topple over, and triumphantly left the building. I had done it. I was finished. I was free at least.
We had made plans to go out that night, so I walked straight home after my exam. The fresh air did some good in sobering me up, and it gave me time to think about my situation. Things are never going to be the same again. It’s like the end of high school all over again, except I’m older, wiser, and better able to appreciate it. For some reason I had the Gurge’s Black Bugs mp3 on my phone, so I listened to that the whole way home. It wasn’t really relevant to my feelings, but it was still great to listen to. There will be many turning points in my life. Events which will shape the person I am. This wasn’t one of them. Those sorts of events are random, interactions that are spontaneous, and can change your direction forever. This was just an ending; one I knew was coming for a long time, and one I should have prepared myself for better. Anyway I’m rambling now, so I’ll stop and get on with the rest of my story.
Friday night we went out to Bar BZR, but not before drinking half a bottle of Absolut Vodka and some 70 proof Czech Absinthe which really didn’t agree with me. BZR had triples for £2.50, so while I was there I had even more vodka. At about 12pm we headed out to the Works, where they played fantastic music and I danced until closing time. Most of the night is a blur. Drinking for more than 12 hours straight took its toll, and I crashed out at some point after getting home, somehow, and woke up the next morning with a splitting headache and no recollection at all of the specifics of what happened the night before. All good fun!
My sore head didn’t stop me going out again the following night though. We didn’t go clubbing, instead we went to this bar called Dogma and met up with Nikkie after she went to an Ice Hockey game. Lots more drinking occurred, again I don’t remember much, but I do know that I got a taxi home early with the girls, for which Bruce, Graeme and Ben gave me lots of stick for.
I am tired now. Its 3am Sunday night and there is more drinking ahead of me tomorrow. We are doing the slab challenge tomorrow, so I need to be rested and prepared for it. I’ll report back on my progress when I sober up from it ^_^ Ah my liver is going to hate me after the end of this week. I’ll start being serious come February, but for the rest of January, I am partying hard!
Written while listening to Black Bugs by Regurgitator.

Penultimate Day

Ok this is an entry completely devoid of any real substance, but tomorrow I will undertake my last two (undergraduate) University exams ever! Of course I am procrastinating, avoiding doing the work I should be doing, and thus, here I am writing this…
La! La! La!
Told you this entry was devoid of any real substance.
At this point in my schooling career, nearing the end of seventeen years of continuous education, I would like to think I’ve followed Mark Twain’s outlook on it all.
“I have never let my schooling interfere with my education.”
By this time tomorrow I’ll be a free man. Hopelessly intoxicated on Absinthe.
Written while listening to Everything is Alright by Fourtet (damnit, it only took me 2 minutes 31 seconds to write this entry, should have picked a longer song ^_^)

The End Is Nigh

This afternoon I sat my third last exam ever. It was on Financial Management, and as usual, I had done far, far too little work for it. For the first time I was actually coming close to almost fearing I might fail. It was a little scary actually. If I failed this subject it would completely screw up my plans. I wouldn’t be able to graduate, I would need to finish off just one more subject, and I would have to do it back at UQ… ewww
The exam went well though, and I think I managed to somehow get a pass. I’ve got two more exams on Friday, but all of tomorrow to bum around and not do study for them. Then comes Friday night, when I’ll get absolutely shitfaced! ^_^
In other news, and in the current trend of me avoiding doing any study, I’ve now watched the first five episodes of season four of 24! I completely agree with the comments Brendan made to this entry about this season being much stronger up till this point than the equivalent place in last season. I’m actually glad that Jack is the only real main character back. Looks like he’ll get to do some real badass shooting in episode 6 as well!
P.S. Brendan, I’ll be on Yahoo this weekend… when I sober up.
Listening to Sometimes by My Bloody Valentine.

Another Weekend Expires

Thanks Calvin for the title. Calvin’s (relatively) new blog can be found here.

A pretty uneventful weekend all round. Not too much in the way of distractions. Though I was awake from Friday morning at 10am till Sunday morning at 3am. I’m kinda tired now. I just got up. The weekend isn’t officially over yet, but it is for me. I’ve really got to start doing some work. I had my Japanese exam Saturday morning. Went to it having not slept at all the night before, having not done any work at all in the days before it, and think I did alright overall. It is the first time I’ve ever done absolutely no preparation for an exam, but this one I didn’t even need to pass, I didn’t need credit for it back home, and I couldn’t find the energy at all to study, so I didn’t. Thankfully the work I did during the semester paid off and I’m pretty sure I scraped through a decent mark.

So now I’m on to study Financial Management, the subject whose average mark last year was 46%. Joy!