After the madness of July, this month has been much calmer and happier, though still busy with plenty to talk about. My main focus has been preparing for my first ever job interview, which took place at the end of the month. And I celebrated another birthday by getting a combination VHS, DVD & Hard Drive recorder, along with various DVDs and music purchases as well. So I hope you enjoy!
Sunday August 7, 2005
The job of Pre-Press Supervisor was advertised at work this week. It involves a bit of everything, so people seeing it might not be entirely sure what it’s specifically about. I know what it entails, because I’ve been working there, but I think the relatively vague description might have put some off. Indeed, only one person has rung my section manager to enquire about it so far.
Anyway, I’ve sent off the application form, making sure to clearly state how my sight won’t affect me, as that’s going to be the main issue to them given that it’s inherently a visual task. The closing date is the 18th, with interviews on the 30th. There’s no guarantee I’ll get the job, although my section manager is happy with what I’ve been doing. We’ll just have to wait and see. And I’ve got rid of my cold, though I seem to have passed it on to one of my colleagues. I’ve got a bit of a tickly throat still, but that’s all.
My birthday is also coming up this month, and we’ve just ordered my birthday present from Comet. It’s a JVC combination VCR, DVD Recorder and Hard Drive unit, so it pretty much does the lot! It’ll mean Dad and I can transfer our videos to DVD, which includes my America, London and Guernsey trips that I’ve got on camcorder tapes. The hard drive means there’s no need for tapes to record from the TV as well. It’s £489.99, which is expensive, but I shouldn’t need to buy anything new for a while! I’m having the week off from Monday 22nd to Friday 26th, so I’ll have plenty of time to play around with it, as well as prepare for the job interview if I’m lucky enough to get one.
And talking of DVDs, I ordered some more things last week. I did two orders, as some stuff doesn’t come out until tomorrow. The first order, which has now been dispatched, contains:
- Knight Rider – Season 2 (As I loved the first season)
- The Tube – Best Of Series 1 (An 80s music show, which sounds as if it was very good)
- Marc Bolan & T. Rex – Born To Boogie (A T. Rex concert with loads of extras)
- Goodnight Sweetheart – Series 1 (At long last, and it even has commentaries and interviews)
- The Best Of Ronnie Barker (Contains some of his stuff I haven’t seen, and includes the Four Candles sketch)
The other order, which should come fairly soon, has:
- One Foot In The Grave – Series 3 (One episode even has a commentary)
- Dad’s Army – Series 4 (Hot on the heels of series 3, unusual for the BBC to release things this fast. Like series 3, it has features on cast members called We Are The Boys)
- Bottom – Series 3 (Completes the set of this show at last)
There’s plenty more to come during the rest of this year of course. The Red Dwarf DVDs are going to be cool, with the last 2 series being on 3 DVDs each rather than 2. There are extended episodes, a lost episode script recorded by Chris Barrie, and all the other usual stuff, so they’re really pushing the boat out (or ship in this case).
The news has been fairly calm for a while. People have been charged over withholding information that could have helped the police fight terrorism, and the police are still questioning a number of suspects about the bombings last month. The public is still urged to be vigilant, of course, and Tony Blair is trying to tighten the laws on terrorism again. He wants it to be illegal for people to incite terrorism, through speeches and so on. And the talk of bombs ties in with the 60th anniversary of the atomic bomb being dropped on Hiroshima. From what I’ve been hearing about it, it sounds absolutely horrific, and certainly changed the world.
In nicer news it’s also the World Athletics Championships this week. Paula Radcliffe ran the 10,000m last night, coming 9th, but that’s not a problem. She trains for the marathon mainly, and that’s still to come, so the other race was just a warm up really.
Tuesday August 9, 2005
My first Amazon order in the previous entry arrived yesterday, and the second one today, so I’ve got plenty to watch now! I’ve started Goodnight Sweetheart, and that’s great. There’s an hour-long interview with the writers, plus they do a commentary on every episode. Nothing from Nicholas Lyndhurst in the extras, sadly, but still good bonus features nonetheless. All the other stuff is looking great as well, particularly the music DVDs (T. Rex and The Tube).
Not all online orders are a complete success though. I’d ordered a box of chocolates from Fortnum & Mason for Mum’s birthday, because we’d been looking at their site a bit, so I thought I’d try them out. Sadly, the box is out of stock. But all is not lost – they’ve offered to do a ‘loose form’ box (i.e. you get the choccies loose instead of in their fancy box), so I’ve told them they can do that. They should still be nice. It’s just a bit frustrating, that’s all.
In the news, the Discovery shuttle has returned safely to Earth, which was a relief for NASA, as they had been anxious to avoid the Columbia disaster. Despite changes, bits of foam still came off Discovery, but the astronauts were able to do some repairs in space. However, NASA have still grounded their fleets again to see if they can get the problem fixed properly, as nothing should be breaking off at all.
The only other news is that a South Korean man died after playing 50 hours of computer games in an internet cafe, almost non-stop. Didn’t he have anything better to do?!
Wednesday August 10, 2005
Two quick pieces of news today. Firstly, The Fortnum & Mason chocolate box arrived. Even in loose form, the box still looks presentable, so that’s good. And secondly, the local accounting firm I applied to wrote to confirm that they got my CV, but there were a lot of applications, all of a high standard, and I have not been shortlisted for interview. Nice of them to tell me, so I’m not too bothered. I never expected to get interviews immediately, as I know the job market isn’t that easy, but it was worth a go.
Saturday August 13, 2005
It was Mum’s birthday yesterday, and the flowers from Marks & Spencer arrived on time. The chocolates from Fortnum & Mason are fine, but the loose box doesn’t have a card telling you what they are, so it’s a little bit of pot luck. Mum was happy with them, so that’s all that matters.
At work, a colleague who had recently been made redundant popped in yesterday, which was a nice surprise, and he’s doing fine. I’ll have to buy in my round of cream cakes at work this coming week, as I’ll be off during my birthday week itself. There have been a couple of enquiries about the new job opening as well.
I’ve ordered another bumper crop of CDs from Amazon, which I hope will arrive in time for my birthday week:
- Madness – The Dangermen Sessions: Volume 1 – Good to see Madness back, and this album of ska covers has been getting rave reviews.
- Madness – Shame And Scandal – A single with 2 songs that aren’t on the above album. I heard this on the radio a while back, and it’s a very good track.
- T. Rex – Born To Boogie – This has 2 CDs, one with the soundtrack of the movie and the other with a live concert from 1972 (one of 2 shown in full on the DVD for the first time).
- Status Quo – Live At The NEC, In The Army Now, Rock ‘Til You Drop – That’s 3 more albums for the collection. I can’t get some of the others at the moment, which is a shame, but perhaps they’ll re-release them soon. They’ve got a new album out in September I notice as well, so that should be interesting.
- The Who – The Who By Numbers, Who Are You, Face Dances, It’s Hard – These are the last 4 studio albums that I need. Just 2 live ones to get now (Join Together and Who’s Last), but I’ll do that next time round. I considered the Singles Box Set, but I’ve got all the songs on it except 2, so it’s certainly not worth paying £50 for 2 songs!
So that lot should keep me going for a while. The DVDs I’ve been watching are good. I’ve now finished Goodnight Sweetheart and I’m pleased to see that series 2 is out in September, so that’s very quick. The T. Rex movie looks as if it will be good too, I’m going to watch that tonight.
Monday August 15, 2005
Nothing much to report at the moment really. But I’ve been watching the T. Rex DVD and it’s brilliant. Marc Bolan is such a great performer, he knows how to keep the audience happy. And in the World Athletics, we came out with just 1 gold and 2 bronze medals, which is pretty disappointing. The gold was for Paula Radcliffe, who got the world title in the marathon that she wanted, so that’s great at least.
Saturday August 20, 2005
I’m now off work for a week, so that’s good. And this past week didn’t start as anything special, but it finished by being rather more interesting.
First off, I’ve got an interview for the Pre-Press Supervisor’s job on Tuesday 30th August at 9am. I then get to go home for the rest of that day, as it’s not fair for me to be around while the other candidates are coming in, which is understandable. That means I get next week off, plus the Bank Holiday Monday, and then Tuesday of that week (apart from the interview of course).
Also, the manager I first did my work experience with last year has given me a job description for a Senior Finance Assistant post, which is coming up in another department, and that looks very interesting. It closes on 28th August, so I’ve emailed the Jobcentre to request an application pack. It seems that a few people are keen to keep me on in the Council in some capacity, which is good news, and it was nice of that particular manager to point out the job. It’s also more to do with what I studied for at uni, so it might be more useful in that respect.
One of my printing colleagues showed me how to do some imposition on Thursday, on my section manager’s request, so it looks like they’re starting to test me out a bit. We did a couple of 8-page A5 leaflets – these consist of 2 A4 sheets folded in half, and sitting inside one another. The trick is to make sure that all of the pages print in the correct place on the correct sheet so that, when it is folded and trimmed, all the pages are in the right order, and the right way up. So, the back sheet has pages 1 and 8 on one side, and 2 and 7 on the other (1 is on the back of 2). More complex jobs have more complex requirements. But I think I’ve picked up the basic stuff. I’m getting more used to operating Macs now as well, as we use those a lot in the department.
Perhaps most importantly, I also bought everyone cakes (or salad in one healthy person’s case), as is the department’s tradition on each person’s birthday! And talking of spending money, my CDs arrived on Thursday. I’ve listened to the Madness (aka Dangermen) single, and it’s pretty good.
Thursday August 25, 2005
And as I seem to say every year, I don’t feel any older. I got £50 from my Nan, and a couple of shirts from my Aunt, which were the type I wanted for work. My main present from my parents, the DVD/HDD/VCR recorder, arrived early on Monday, with a pack of 5 DVD-R discs that we ordered with it. So I’ve started copying stuff already.
The first disc didn’t go well. After recording and also deleting some stuff (you can’t actually fully delete off DVD-Rs, but you can delete the references to stuff you don’t want), it crashed when trying to finalise it. But subsequent discs have been fine, the hard disk seems to work as well, and the video deck works nicely too.
Finalising the discs means you can watch them on normal DVD players. Well, they won’t work on my PS2 so far, but they work on Mum and Dad’s player, so that’s good. That means I can copy films and TV shows for them. I like being able to copy stuff to DVD because it keeps them in good quality and they take up much less spaces on the shelves.
So far I’ve copied to DVD from VHS:
- My holiday movies – America, London & Guernsey.
- My school plays – Tarfa & The Trolls, Dracula Spectacula & Stateside Express.
- The first part of The Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert – From the VHS I kept hold of, as it wasn’t on the official DVD release. I’ve added extra Queen videos to the disc too that haven’t been released on DVD yet.
- The Fast Show (not series 3 though as one video can’t be copied), You Ain’t Seen All Of These… Right? and The Fast Show Live.
- Dad’s film collection. Some videos can’t be copied as they’re copy-protected, which is annoying but not surprising.
I’ve also been reading up on the Council and the printing industry ready for my interview next week. I hadn’t been able to get on the web since Tuesday though, as my upstairs phone line was dead (the second line we had put in so I had good internet access for studying at university and for general internet use beyond that). I phoned up the automated fault line on our main landline and entered all the details, and my phone suddenly rang this morning, and the engineer said the problem had been fixed. And talking of engineers, one came round for Mum today, as her washing machine wasn’t working, and he fitted a new motor. Add to that a Tesco delivery at lunchtime, and it’s been an eventful day!
The weirdest news story of the week is Piano Man, who was found soaking wet on a beach a few months ago. He wouldn’t speak and doctors didn’t know who he was. However, he drew a picture of a piano and was reported to play it very well in the place where he was being looked after. But it now transpires that he couldn’t play a note. He’s also suddenly regained his voice and decided to leave, going back to his family in Germany, and his name and age (Andreas Grassl, 20) are now known. He had also been working with mentally ill patients, so may have picked up some behaviour from them. As a result of all that, the NHS Trust is rumoured to want to sue him for being a hoaxer. And if he is, then he’s wasted people’s time, money and other resources which could have been used on treating genuine patients. It’s an odd state of affairs altogether.
And finally, also celebrating a birthday today are:
- Sean Connery – 75 (born 1930, arguably the best James Bond)
- Frederick Forsyth – 67 (born 1938, author of Day Of The Jackal)
- Gene Simmons – 56 (born 1949, founder member of Kiss)
- Willy DeVille – 55 (born 1950, member of Mink DeVille)
- Rob Halford – 54 (born 1951, member of Judas Priest)
- Elvis Costello – 51 (born 1954, big hit was Oliver’s Army)
- Tim Burton – 47 (born 1958, directed Batman and Beetlejuice)
- Billy Ray Cyrus – 44 (born 1961, big hit was Achy Breaky Heart)
- Candida Doyle – 42 (born 1963, member of Pulp)
- Claudia Schiffer – 35 (born 1970, model)
Wednesday August 31, 2005
I had my interview for the Pre-Press Supervisor post at 9am yesterday. I thought there was going to be a representative from Human Resources present, but in the end it was only my section and department managers doing it, which was good as it made it much more comfortable than it might have been otherwise. And having worked in the department for 9 months already, the two of them could skip some of the questions at the start, as I know a lot about it already.
It went alright on the whole, especially considering it was my first ever proper interview. It wasn’t perfect, but then no interview will be. I overlooked one or two things in my research, but worked around them best I could, and my mouth got ahead of my brain once or twice, so I hadn’t fully thought things through before saying them, and had to correct myself a bit. But I said what I wanted to say, and what I believed they wanted to hear, and they seemed happy. They asked about my sight as well, of course, but that was easy enough. They didn’t ask if I had any questions at the end, so I didn’t end up asking any. Whether I should have butted in and asked something, I don’t know, but there wasn’t anything i felt the need to query at the time.
I was also given a little test before we started as well, when I was waiting at reception, with a few logic questions (next number in the sequence, identifying which shape is the odd one out, etc), and that wasn’t too difficult.
I don’t know when they’ll decide, but they had interviews this morning as well as yesterday, so I didn’t go back to work until this afternoon, to make it fair on the other candidates. I’m reasonably confident, as I did all I could in there, and they already know me. But I know there will be others with much more knowledge and experience than me, so nothing’s guaranteed. Whatever happens, I’ve now had experience of the application and interview process, which is all good for future reference.
In the news this week, Hurricane Katrina has been battering parts of America, including New Orleans and Louisiana, with the former being extremely badly hit. Over 80% of New Orleans is below sea level, and there is a big lake on one side and the sea on the other, so there’s an awful lot of water flooding the city. Most people were evacuated, with the remainder sheltering in the city’s stadium. It’s going to cost billions to repair the damage from the storm, and there have been many deaths.
And on a more cheerful note, in the music world, The Rolling Stones are back with a new album (A Bigger Bang) and a double A-side single (Streets Of Love & Rough Justice), the latter getting to number 15. And on TV, next Friday sees the start of The Green Green Grass, the Boycie & Marlene spin-off from Only Fools and Horses, which sounds pretty interesting.