We’ve reached another significant month in my life with these journal entries, as I’ve learnt the outcome of my first ever job interview! Hurricane Katrina has also embarked on its path of destruction in America, and so given its inevitable dominance in the news it would have been remiss not to mention it. And amongst the various bits of entertainment I’ve been buying, watching and listening to, ITV have been celebrating their 50th anniversary, including a rundown of their top 50 shows. So I hope you enjoy this latest mixture!
Friday September 2, 2005
That’s a nice short week over and done with! The interview’s out of the way, and I’ve been told that I’m on a shortlist of 2. The other guy will be coming in the week after next, so they can spend a day with him and see what he can do. So it’s promising. My manager’s got the contact details for a few people who can help me get support from Access To Work, Action For Blind People and others, so they can sort out what they might need for me if I get the job. My Dad knows a couple of those people as well, which might make things a bit easier.
As for the work itself, I’ve been hanging around with my section manager and a guy from IT while they’ve been sorting bits out this week, just getting the general idea of what they’re doing, so it’s been fairly easy.
The news, meanwhile, has mainly been about the sheer devastation of Hurricane Katrina. It just looks horrific out there. New Orleans has pretty much been destroyed, and Mississippi has also been badly hit, as well as other local states and cities. Being below sea-level, with the sea on one side and a lake on the other, has just made it worse, and the water has to be pumped out rather than just flowing away.
People in the area, whether they evacuated early, or were put in shelters, or braved the storms and luckily survived, are now without food and clean water. Supplies are getting through, and people in the towns are being rescued, but it’s difficult. Families and relatives have been anxiously trying to get in touch with loved ones who were caught up in it. Even Fats Domino has gone missing. He was rescued by helicopter, so we know he’s alive, but his daughter and agent haven’t had contact with him since.
With all this chaos, you’d think people would try to help the rescuers and emergency services. But looting, armed robberies, carjackings, rapes and murders are happening everywhere, by people taking advantage of the situation so that they can survive at the cost of others. There are armed gangs, for instance, just making the most of it all, it’s awful. There are even fires and explosions in New Orleans, it’s become a combat zone now.
Bush is also being heavily criticised because not enough is being done, especially in terms of food and water. It is one of the biggest natural disasters mainland America has ever suffered, possibly even the biggest. It puts 9/11 right in the shade in terms of destruction and deaths.
And keeping on the morbid theme of destruction for a bit longer, an Arabic news station has broadcast a video of one of the July 7 London bombers trying to defend his callous actions, even though there’s no excuse for what they did.
But there isn’t much else to report this week really. The hurricane’s destruction has pretty much dominated the news. And until this other guy is seen at work, I probably won’t hear much else on the job, unless anyone gets in touch to talk about the help they can provide. An interesting month lies ahead in any case!
Wednesday September 7, 2005
I’ve got the job!
I got offered an interview for the Senior Finance Assistant’s post today. I asked my section manager if it was alright for me to attend, and he went off to ask our Printing department manager. Next thing I know, I’m being asked into the office, where they gave me the role of Pre-Press Supervisor! So I won’t be going to that other interview after all. I think they were rather anxious not to lose me!
Apparently I did pretty well in the interview last week. My research into printing on the web paid off, it seems, as I knew more about it than some of the other people. I would also have picked up some bits from working in the department for the last 9 months of course. And I got top marks on the aptitude test. It was a sheet of questions that weren’t connected with printing – identifying which shape is the odd one out, which is the next number in the sequence, etc.
So I now have a definite decision on my immediate future, which is what I wanted. I’ll be getting plenty of training, which is good, as I’ve got a lot to learn! And I’ll be earning a bit more than I do now, which also means I’ll be starting to pay my Student Loan back. And my parents are thrilled, of course.
Today has also shown promising results from Amazon. I recently ordered a pack of blank DVDs for our new recorder, as it’s great being able to record stuff to keep without using videos. Those discs never arrived though, and the tracking number wasn’t recognised by Parcelforce. Thankfully, Amazon have an easy to use email system. Customer Services are quick to respond, even if it’s obvious the replies are primarily computer generated, with the odd bit of customisation here and there to fit your needs. Anyway, the upshot is that Amazon have re-dispatched the DVDs, with no charge for the product or delivery. Perhaps I’ll get them this time.
I’ve also pre-ordered the complete Only Fools And Horses collection on DVD. The box set is made up like a big photo album, with a Delboy-style leopard-skin cover that looks pretty cool, and it has 25 discs. It isn’t out until the end of next month, so I’ll get it at the beginning of November.
I’m also going to get a few more DVDs within the next few days:
- Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy – The movie version, which has got good reviews on the whole.
- 2Point4 Children – Series 3
- Are You Being Served? – Series 2 – My parents bought the first series, but I’m happy to get them from now on, as they are good, and I do remember watching it when it was repeated on TV ages ago.
- Regan – The Sweeney pilot. I’ve already got it, but this new release has cleaned-up picture and sound like the Sweeney sets, plus 2 commentaries, so it’s worth the upgrade.
Season 2 of Knight Rider has been great to watch. And I’ve been recording, and watching, repeats of The Demon Headmaster. I remember watching it when I was younger, and wanted to see how I liked it now. It’s still pretty good, and I’ve already spotted actors I recognise (Raquel from Only Fools and Cat from Red Dwarf). Something different, anyway. The spin-off from Only Fools (The Green Green Grass) is on this Friday too, and it sounds promising.
The news has, of course, been dominated by Hurricane Katrina’s trail of destruction. They’re still clearing out New Orleans, forcing out the last few stragglers who refuse to go. There is a huge risk of disease now, as the water is polluted by oil and chemicals, and goodness knows what else. There are a lot of oil rigs on the Gulf Coast, which is where New Orleans is. The crime level seems to be down now that the authorities have a much bigger presence in the area (Police, National Guard, etc). It’ll take a long time for New Orleans to get back to normal, if indeed it ever does. The kids are going to new schools in other states, so at least they won’t miss out on their education. 96 Britons are still missing as of this morning, but let’s hope that’s less now.
Sunday September 11, 2005
Nothing much to report on the work front since a few days ago, apart from meeting a guy called Chris, who will be supporting me as and when I need it. It was only a brief meeting to get the initial paperwork done, but he seems like a nice guy. And he’s partially sighted too, so we’re in the same boat. Dad and one of my colleagues know him too. He’ll be coming in again later so we can sort out plans for training and discuss what equipment I might need to help me (e.g. a large monitor).
I saw The Green Green Grass on Friday, the spin-off from Only Fools And Horses featuring Boycie and Marlene. It was a promising start, although the second episode to come hasn’t got quite as good reviews. It’s not as good as Only Fools, and probably won’t get to that level, but I think everyone knows that, including the actors and John Sullivan himself. But they’ll give it their best shot. We’ll just have to see how the series pans out over the 6 episodes.
On the television, ITV are 50 years old, so they’re doing various special things. There’s a live episode of The Bill next week for instance, and this week Pauline Quirke from Birds Of A Feather is in it. And Status Quo are appearing in Coronation Street for a couple of episodes.
This weekend, though, ITV announced the results of their poll to find the 50 Greatest ITV Shows. It wasn’t a bad list, but it’s worth noting the 50 shows were picked by ITV themselves, and the viewers just voted for the order, so it’s not entirely fair in that respect.
It wasn’t surprising to see reality shows get near the top, but at least they were beaten by Frost and Morse, even if they’re programmes I don’t actually watch. It’s good to see Minder and The Sweeney in there too, and funny shows like Kenny Everett, Rising Damp, Spitting Image, etc. It’s quite a selection, although number 1 is hardly a surprise (Coronation Street). Saturday Night Takeaway was at number 2 – it’s not a bad show, but shouldn’t be that high up for 50 years of ITV shows. The Bill and Emmerdale were also in the Top 10. Here’s the full list:
- Coronation Street
- Ant & Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway
- A Touch Of Frost
- Inspector Morse
- Emmerdale Farm
- I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here!
- The Bill
- The Muppet Show
- Pop Idol
- Spitting Image
- Cold Feet
- This Morning
- Footballers’ Wives
- Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?
- The Avengers
- Prime Suspect
- The Sweeney
- Rising Damp
- Stars In Their Eyes
- Upstairs Downstairs
- Hillsborough 1996
- The Kenny Everett Video Show
- An Audience With…
- The Darling Buds Of May
- The World At War
- The Naked Civil Servant
- The Prisoner
- Seven Up
- World In Action
- The Benny Hill Show
- Brideshead Revisited
- Blind Date
- Sunday Night At The London Palladium
- Death On The Rock
- Ready Steady Go!
- The South Bank Show
- This Is Your Life
- Candid Camera
- Tonight With Trevor MacDonald
- The Jewel In The Crown
- Whicker’s World
- Opportunity Knocks
- It’ll Be Alright On The Night
- Family Fortunes
Friday September 16, 2005
That’s my temporary contract over with now. Next week I’m Pre-Press Supervisor! It’ll be fairly busy next week, as we’ve got a mayoral election that we’re preparing for. And I’ve joined our department’s lottery syndicate as well now.
News-wise, the clear-up from Hurricane Katrina continues, which is good news. And for England there is great news – we won The Ashes! Bad weather prevented the last match from being completed, so it ended in a draw. We put in a very good performance, so it was well deserved. The Australians haven’t begrudged us our first win against them for 18 years in this tournament.
ITV’s 50 year celebrations are continuing this week. A Walk of Fame is being set up this weekend, Ant & Dec are reviving gameshows (1 a week for 7 weeks), there’s a live episode of The Bill on Thursday which is sounding cool, and Status Quo are in Coronation Street as I mentioned the other day. So I’m going to record the 50-year shows I’m interested in and perhaps save some on DVD if they’re any good, as it is a one-off. And talking of recording, my order of 30 blank discs arrived, so I’ve got plenty if I do want to keep stuff.
I’ve got some more DVDs to watch as well now, as 2Point4 Children, Regan and The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy have all arrived. And I’m going to order some more stuff this weekend too. Goodnight Sweetheart – Series 2 is the only DVD I’ll get this time round. The rest is CDs – Status Quo’s new album, The Party Ain’t Over Yet, plus the single on CD and DVD, along with the new Rolling Stones album, A Bigger Bang (both songs on their single are on the album, so the album on its own is enough). I should hopefully get Queen’s live album this coming week too, from this year’s tour with Paul Rodgers, so I’m looking forward to that.
Saturday September 24, 2005
Work’s been fairly busy this week, in the first week of my new post. I’ve started to learn Photoshop, InDesign and Illustrator on the Mac, and now have my own Mac by my Windows machine at work, so I can learn from the course guides. My section manager has also booked a 5-day course for him and myself on client and server management in Manchester in November, so that should be interesting.
The mayoral election has been the main focus of our work this week though. One of the candidates who came in does charity sailing trips for people with disabilities, and he said I’m the right sort of person to take it up. I’ve got his number, and he said he would call me at work if he has any classes coming up. So it’ll be interesting to see if anything comes of that.
The main news story this week is that Hurricane Rita is now battering the US coast, hot on the heels of Katrina. So everyone’s evacuating again. There’s nothing you can do about Mother Nature when it’s like that, so it must be terrifying.
ITV’s 50th Anniversary has continued this week. The Bill’s live episode was great, without any hitches again. That was shown 50 years to the day since ITV began on 22 September 1955. And Status Quo made their first appearance in Coronation Street the next day, which was pretty funny to see. There’s a free CD in the Mirror this weekend with new live recordings they did this year. But back to TV, and Des Lynam is going to be the new host of Countdown, which seems a good choice, he did well on Have I Got News For You. And The Green Green Grass is still pretty good. Not up to Only Fools standards of course, but still good.
Back to music though, and I received Queen’s live album Return Of The Champions this week, with Paul Rodgers. And it’s absolutely brilliant. There are some Queen songs, some songs that Paul Rodgers did with Free and Bad Company tracks, and a couple of solo tracks from Brian and Roger. Freddie’s mum was there too, so Love Of My Life was dedicated to her, sung beautifully by the audience as ever. The DVD should be brilliant too, as the show looks great from the photos and TV adverts. I saw The Hitchhiker’s Guide movie last week too, and that’s a pretty good adaptation to be fair.
Friday September 30, 2005
Not much to report this week. At work, some of the mayoral election work is done. And my section manager is getting ready to go on holiday for a family wedding in December, so I’m being asked to cover in his absence. Our department manager would therefore prefer us do that server course in Manchester in the new year, so we probably won’t be going in November after all.
And on the TV, Rik Mayall is starring in a new ITV comedy-drama called All About George. It’s a gentle sort of show, written by Mike Bullen, who did Cold Feet and Life Begins, neither of which I saw. All About George is ok, but I don’t like it enough to record it or buy it. It’s interesting to watch once though, and it’s always good to see Rik back on the telly.