Well, last week, I agreed to do some part-time work for my chiropracter - support for the network at their two clinics. Basic stuff like anti-virus, firewall, patches & back-ups. Easy, right? So it seemed until come Wednesday morning I get into the first site & realise that they haven't got AD setup on their server... BIG problem going forward, but undaunted I still went through the motions of updating the systems & developing a plan of action with them. Fine.

Had a nice lunch with Rick, got  home & watched some House before heading out for the Club in Richmond. Around 1600h I got a call from an agency I'd been in contact with recently, nothing unusual there. Was told that I was being short-listed for a role in North London for a role as Feeds Manager for a betting company - slighlty less techie, but much more potential (in-house coders for example). Was advised that there would be a phone interview with the IT Manager at some point. Fair enough.

An hour later, I am called again, to say I had an interview at their offices at 1500h the following day. Eep. But I had said I was available immeadiately, so there you go. Come Thursaday, I had had little sleep, too much coffee, no food & was starting to Hyper-Ventilate slightly when I got their. I managed to calm down abit before going in, but was slightly unnerved to say the least. Good job that the first thing they gave me was an online aptitude test. They called it an ice-breaker afterwards, but it certainly worked as I felt a lot better afterwards. Spent about an hour in total going through my CV, past experiences, scenarios & other questions. Then I was asked if I minded doing the second interview straight-away, assuming that he could get hold of his boss.


Bit fast, eh? Thankfully (for me), he was unavailable, so I managed to put it off until 1400h the next day. They seemed very keen to hire me, which is nice. Had the second interview, which went well & I was asked if I'd consider doing a trial week, with a view to becoming full-time after that. And they were offering a reasonable salary, certainly more than my previous one. So within 48 hours of being told that the opening existed, I was basically being offered it. Not bad, but way too quick by poor old Will's standards.

The real issue though, and the reason for this post, is the one major issue with the role.

They are a company that specialises in betting on football matches on behalf of syndicates. This means that their peak trading hours occur when games are on - and not just domestic games, but globally as well. Now, you ask yourself, when do football games occur? Evenings & Weekends you say? Yeah, the major downside to this job is not having a social life what-so-ever, or at the very least, removing me from the one I currently have.

It was yesterday when I was socialising with the group, that it really struck home, as basically I would be cut off from them. When they work, I sleep or have free time & vice-versa. Pretty bad. Not as bad as being cut-off from Hannah though, which is the other major downside. Who am I kidding, it is the major downside, as everyhting else pales in comparrison.

I have agreed to do the trial week (after going to one of the clinics first on Monday morning -what have I let myself in for?), but at the moment, unless it is an absolutely amazing job, which I doubt, I am probably going to have to say no. But it is not just saying no to the prospect of losing my social life, but also a decently paid job in a time like this. Pretty stupid? Yes & No, but I'll know for certain by this time next week I hope.

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And Life Still Goes On...

Well, here I am, 4 days until my 23rd birthday & not much has changed in the last month or so - still unemployed, but at least I'm getting on with things.

For one, I'm (slowly) studying my way towards the MCSE award, although progress hasn't been as rapid as I would've liked (I blame 2 consecutive chapters focusing on printers in XP...), but I am getting there & learning a few things on the way.

There has been a reasonable amount of interest from agencies, but nothing concrete has appeared recently - half the problem is that if I can apply for 20 jobs online in an hour, so can Joe the Plumber. The web is definitely acting like a double-edged sword at the moment.

As for my birthday itself, I talked myself (& my mum, as she was there) into getting an Aspire One for my main present. Was at a bit of a discount in Curry's, as someone else had bought, took it home, opened it & then realised that it came with Linux not XP - despite all the packaging (& I do mean all the packaging), but hey if it knocks the price down by £100, I ain't complaining :)

The issue though, is that I have already purchased 3 (or 4 depending on your definitions) things for it, despite not technically owning it yet. Since this model came with the 8GB Solid-State Drive, there is an SD card slot that (under Linux) can be used to dynamically increase the space in the Home Directory (yay aufs!). So I bought an 8GB card for that, as you do. It also comes with 512MB of on-board RAM, leaving a DDR2 slot that can take an extra 1GB, so I naturally ordered that too. So far, so good - 2 good buys at less than  £10 each; thank you amazon!

The next item isn't really for the netbook, but is in a way. I ordered a 16GB pen drive at the exorbitantly priced £15 (oh noes!), as I'd been meaning to use one for the "Speed Boost" feature on Vista, and since I now have 8GB RAM, anything smaller simply won't do. So in principle, not a netbook item. However, since the netbook lacks a CD drive, if I want to put another distro on there (looking at Linux Mint with Fluxbox atm), I need to have a pen drive that I can boot/install from. Now I know I already have pen drives large enough for that, but it seemed like a good idea at the time, so :p

Lastly I purchased an enhanced capacity battery - gone will be the 3-cell 2400mWh, to be replaced with the 9-cell 7800mWh, which will theoretically take battery life into the double-digits with good power saving features & well over 6 hours with the Wi-Fi on. These figures make me a very happy man - the price tag made Hannah slightly less happy though, but I don't care - I am going to do this properly after the farce of my previous laptop, which in the end was too cheap for it's own good - it is currently the lucky test subject for my training...

As anyone who has read this far might be able to tell, I am rather happy/excited about the netbook. I give you my sympathy, but offer no apologies, as I think most geek-types would be at this point.

Moving back to more topical conversation (or Monologue), I was glad that I was made redundant in time to watch the Inauguration - the very good speech, shame that 2 of the most powerful men in America couldn't have rehearsed their lines a bit better! Quite entertaining to watch though :D. Except for the poem, the first set of prayer & the singing. Aretha is too old these days! The quartet was good, as was the Benediction - I'm not a religious man, but at least that guy had a sense of humor anyone could appreciate.

As for our lot, I have to say that I think most people would agree with me when I say Brown is on borrowed time & we all know that he is fasting running out of currency to pay for it (both Political & Physical). Not that I'm sure anyone else will do a better job of it to be honest, as I'm not too sure what can be done at this point, other than riding it out to a certain extent.

Enough of the depressing though, as I have found what is quite possibly the most annoying feature of Vista - I have Windows Defender turned off, waste of cycles & what-have-you. This however doesn't dampen Vistas enthusiasm for downloading updates for it. I have now downloaded the same update approximately 6 times in an afternoon (thank god it doesn't require a reboot). Now, if I could attribute this to the Defender process not running, well, that would be fine. The issue is that I have had the app off for over 6 months now & all the previous updates worked fine. So, like I said, I must attribute this to the enthusiasm that the OS has built into it, as I'm not sure what else will explain it...

Anyway, going back to Amazon, I have pre-ordered a fair number of DnD books for the next 9 months or so. This is good, as they are cheap (apart from what I foresee as a price hike by Wizards around Easter) & Amazon is a reliable retailer. Except, I haven't yet received a DnD book on time from Amazon, pre-order or not. This has been irritating, but I've decided that I can't be arsed too much about it anymore, as I technically have all you need to play.

Speaking of which, I'm running H1 for a small group tomorrow. Should be good fun (smaller groups always are), but I'm slightly worried - will my modifications to the scenario be sufficient, given the under-manned nature of the group (they're will be 3 of them rather than the expected 5). Time will tell.

Right, I've spent long enough rambling on & if anyone got this far, I imagine that they spent too long reading, so back to <insert previous activity here> for everyone!



The Times be a Changing...

Well, I'm sure all of you are fully aware of the times we live in, what with the economy being everywhere, including the forefront of most people's minds. On Monday, I was informed that due to the well-publicised climate we find ourselves in, I was being considered for redundancy, as the company needs to halve it's workforce in a hurry. Naturally the cheapest way of doing this is to dismiss those with the shortest notice periods first.

To be honest, I wasn't that shocked, surprised or (believe it or not) bothered. I suspect that the company will go into administration to be honest & have been suspecting so since November. Alas, I was therefore mentally prepared for this one. I have therefore already re-written my CV, been put into contact with a prospective employer & am considering my options on how to retrieve (potentially) lost pay from the company.

I shan't go into details, what with still being an employee & until the meeting (where I can bring a representative of my Trade Union), life apparently goes on as if nothing has changed, because to be honest, nothing has yet. Yet. That is precisely my point & why even if they don't give me my notice on Friday, I may yet give it to them anyway...

Positive side of things include potential training oppourtunities (aiming for an MCSE...) locally & less shift work - God, do I hate getting up THAT early, when I only live 5-10 minutes away by foot.

Anyway, otherwise I have had a good break & I hope you all did too. I got a very nice 24" LCD from Hannah, which I am thoroughly enjoying (the Graphics card is still out on it though...) - it would be nice if everyone got something they enjoyed/wanted for a change too, so here's hoping :)


Time for a Rant...

I know I haven't been on here in a while & to be honest, it is unlikely to change in any meaningful way soon, but when you gotta rant, you gotta rant...

As some of you may know, I having been working as a Techie for a couple of months now, providing phone-based support to the masses. Now, everyone knows the stereo-typing involved in this line of work & whilst, yes, there are a few characters who really are as clueless as they come, on the most part they aren't actually all that stupid - passwords are forgotten far less often than one would expect, although still far more often than one would hope for...

But to my point - of all the people I have dealt with in the last 4 months of this job, the people who give me the most grief are still those who don't actually pay me; that is, of all the inane, retarded & just down-right stupid questions/comments/requests they all come, without exception, from my family & friends.

When you do it for a living, you tend to start blanking out stupid questions & problems, but overall it is more about "why doesn't my Outlook work?" rather than "how do you add music to itunes?". The first question has many possible causes & solutions and is generally not the users fault (rather, it is there roaming profile being corrupted). The second just screams "I am an idiot. Please shoot me now!" to my ears.

People who are idiots because they don't know any better (or shouldn't be expected to know any better) are one thing.
People who are idiots because they are lazy and/or ignorant, but should know better are another entirely.
Surprisingly, I actually have limited patience for the first kind of idiot, but none what-so-ever for the second.



PS - Yes I know I didn't open the rant tag, but that's besides the point... :p
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Woo & Yay

Woo & Yay indeed, on 2 accounts no less!

Firstly, as some people maybe aware, I am no longer a useless bum & a burden to society - I have accepted an offer of full-time employment with an IT start up based here in Twickenham, 5 minute commute for teh win! I'm still waiting for the paperwork to be sent to me, but all is good.

Secondly, I've finally got hold of the Monster Manual for 4th as well as the first 2 pre-made scenarios by Wizards - all in all very sexy :)

All I need now is a pay cheque or two & some way of playing as Torinn, my Dragonborn Paladin, and I will be a very happy man indeed.


PS - Amusing Side Note: I spent about 30 minutes going "Woo!" when I got the job - depressingly no one else was around to notice or care...
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Had an interview on Wednesday for an IT start-up based here in Humid Twickenham (note that I don't say Sunny). Went reasonably well I'd have said, but they seem to think it went rather better, as they want me again for another interview this week coming. Not bad going, eh?

In other news, Hannah got to the final round of yet another job-application-process-thing; here's hoping she gets the offer, although if everything goes to plan she'll turn it down, as hopefully a position in Reuters will have opened up - they're going through the HR department, which could take a little while, but we'll see.

Anyway, not much else to report other than it being the Eventide Release tomorrow & I'm actually going to be taking part. I'll be doing Sealed Deck for the first time in about 30 months (2.5 years) & it'll be my first (pre)release in about 9 months. I've decided that it would be fun to have a go, since my record for Sealed is coming in third at the Guildpact Prerelease, which resulted in my first Steam Vents :)

Now, to planning an adventure for DnD tomorrow evening...

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I doubt we'll be doing that again any time soon...

As I stated in my earlier post from today, we had our second session of 4th Edition today.

After about 20 minutes plus conversation this evening after we wrapped up, Rick, Rin & myself agreed that the best way to some up the day was that it was a long day. Part of me wanted to say it had been a good day, but given what happened I don't think I could agree with that - far too much arguing, hissy fits & temper's being frayed towards the end. On the other hand, part of me wanted to say it's been a bad day, because of all the reasons that I just listed, however I don't think I could agree with that either - I got to spend the day with my friends, doing an activity we all enjoy. In the end though, we all had to agree that it was a long day if anything should be used to describe it.

We started this morning at 10:00am - in hindsight, that was the first of our many mistakes today. As some of you may know, yesterday was the Eventide Prerelease, so they all had a long day because of that. I had a rather stress inducing day too, which I won't really go into, but needless to say, I no longer have a beard, but still have a girlfriend. Not sure it's a fair trade, but it is obviously a trade I was willing to make.

The next mistake was the seating plan, which had been carefully orchestrated until I pointed out that laptops do unfortunately require power to run for 3 hours or more (yes my laptop has shit battery life, but at least I have one & at least it works damn it!), which I'm afraid to say screwed things up.

I won't bother regaling the rest of our mistakes, other than to say that today we spent to long as a large group in a small, confined space. I doubt we'll be attempting a 13 hour session again, let alone anytime soon.

As for actual in-game stuff I like a lot of the characters I'm playing with, they are for the most part an interesting bunch. Actually, I lie, Rick & Emma's characters are great. Rick has really taken to the theme his character has, in what some would term as a rather disturbing fashion. Emma's characters has a very rich background & has a lot of potential for role-play in the group. I like my character, he's a buck from the trend & has the possibility of opening up a lot of routes at higher levels, whilst being fun to play from the outset (he's a Dwarf Wizard named Cid - go figure :p).

However, there are problems with the group, the biggest of which is our range of classes in the party. I'll qualify that by refining it slightly. We are a very one-sided group when it comes to the roles are characters fill within the adventuring group. For those of you not familiar with party roles, there are basically 4 "positions" in the party to fill : The Defender (aka Tank), who is a decent melee combatant & can absorb a great deal of punishment; The Leader, who is alright in melee, but shines as healing & bluffing machine at the centre of the action; The Striker, typified by the Rogue this role contains classes designed to deal large amounts of damage to specific enemies; Lastly, there is the Controller, of which the Wizard is the sole member - these guys are meant to do largish amounts of damage to multiple enemies.

The party is currently made up of the following:
  • Human Warlock (Striker, Rick)
  • Eladrin Ranger (Striker, Rin)
  • Tiefling Rogue (Striker, Sarah)
  • Dwarf Cleric (Leader, David)
  • Warforged Warlord (Leader, Emma)
  • Dwarf Wizard (Controller, Me)
The recommended Party configuration for 6 players is the following: 2 Defenders, 2 Strikers, 1 Leader, 1 Controller. As you can see, we don't do particularly well on this count. I mean it's doable, but I think that we're quite clearly beginning to fall short of the margin allowed.

I had rolled up another character before we started all this -  a Dragonborn Paladin, who I initially gave no concern too, but has actually become my favourite character I've ever made, so I may yet petition the DM to change chracters at a point convenient to the story if our combat odds become bleak enough

Anyway, I've decided (rather gleefully) that I am now rather tired, an achivement after all the coffee I had today (8+ mugs last I checked).

Off to bed with me!

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I don't Blame them

But it does strike me as rather cheap, when all of WotC's Video Content is actually hosted on YouTube. You'd think that they could afford the extra bandwidth cost quite easily, since they appear to own the copyright to gaming at first glance. Oh well.

On a not-quite-unrelated topic, today is our second session of DnD 4th - I enjoyed our last session (even if it was quite short, but couldn't be helped), I am enjoying the oppourtunity to (role-)play again & I am relishing the chance to socialise a bit more.

For those of you out there who haven't tried 4th, I, for one, say Try it! You've got nothing to lose in my opinion & if your unhappy that it hasn't got your favourite class or race, so you want to stay with 3.5 I make the following point, which I also made to the bloke I met in the Pub on Wednesday Night - It's a new game so you're crazy to hope for/assume/demand that it has the same amount of extra source material that 3rd does. They're already releasing more material in Dungeon and Dragon Magazines and there is a solid list of releases for the rest of the year, including the Magic Item Compendium Equivalent.

Anyway, it has occurred to me that Emma doesn't know of my Blog as far as I know, so I won't wax lyrical on DnD any more for now. Catch you later,

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(no subject)

From boggyb:

  • Bold the ones you have seen
  • Put an asterisk after the movie title* if you really liked it.
  • Cross it out if you saw a film and really disliked it
  • Underline the ones you own
   1. Pulp Fiction (1994)***
   2. The Lord of the Rings trilogy(2001-03)
   3. Titanic (1997)
   4. Blue Velvet (1986)
   5. Toy Story (1995)*
   6. Saving Private Ryan (1998)
   7. Hannah and Her Sisters (1986)
   8. The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
   9. Die Hard (1988)
  10. Moulin Rouge (2001)*
  11. This Is Spinal Tap (1984)*
  12. The Matrix (1999)*
  13. GoodFellas (1990)
  14. Crumb (1995)
  15. Edward Scissorhands (1990)
  16. Boogie Nights (1997)
  17. Jerry Maguire (1996)
  18. Do the Right Thing (1989)
  19. Casino Royale (2006)*
  20. The Lion King (1994)
  21. Schindler's List (1993)*
  22. Rushmore (1998)
  23. Memento (2001)
  24. A Room With a View (1986)
  25. Shrek (2001)
  26. Hoop Dreams (1994)
  27. Aliens (1986)
  28. Wings of Desire (1988)
  29. The Bourne Supremacy (2004)
  30. When Harry Met Sally... (1989)*
  31. Brokeback Mountain (2005)
  32. Fight Club (1999)*
  33. The Breakfast Club (1985)
  34. Fargo (1996)
  35. The Incredibles (2004)***
  36. Spider-Man 2 (2004)*
  37. Pretty Woman (1990)
  38. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)
  39. The Sixth Sense (1999)
  40. Speed (1994)
  41. Dazed and Confused (1993)
  42. Clueless (1995)
  43. Gladiator (2000)*
  44. The Player (1992)
  45. Rain Man (1988)
  46. Men in Black (1997)*
  47. Scarface (1983)
  48. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000)
  49. The Piano (1993)
  50. There Will Be Blood (2007)
  51. The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad (1988)
  52. The Truman Show (1998)*
  53. Fatal Attraction (1987)
  54. Risky Business (1983)
  55. The Lives of Others (2006)
  56. There’s Something About Mary (1998)
  57. Ghostbusters (1984)*
  58. L.A. Confidential (1997)
  59. Scream (1996)
  60. Beverly Hills Cop (1984)
  61. Sex, Lies and Videotape (1989)*
  62. Big (1988)
  63. No Country For Old Men (2007)
  64. Dirty Dancing (1987)
  65. Natural Born Killers (1994)
  66. Donnie Brasco (1997)
  67. Witness (1985)
  68. All About My Mother (1999)
  69. Broadcast News (1987)
  70. Unforgiven (1992)
  71. Thelma & Louise (1991)*
  72. Office Space (1999)
  73. Drugstore Cowboy (1989)
  74. Out of Africa (1985)
  75. The Departed (2006)
  76. Sid and Nancy (1986)
  77. Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)*
  78. Waiting for Guffman (1996)
  79. Michael Clayton (2007)
  80. Moonstruck (1987)
  81. Lost in Translation (2003)
  82. Evil Dead 2: Dead by Dawn (1987)
  83. Sideways (2004)
  84. The 40 Year-Old Virgin (2005)
  85. Y Tu Mamá También (2002)
  86. Swingers (1996)
  87. Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery (1997)*
  88. Breaking the Waves (1996)
  89. Napoleon Dynamite (2004)
  90. Back to the Future (1985)*
  91. Menace II Society (1993)
  92. Ed Wood (1994)
  93. Full Metal Jacket (1987)*
  94. In the Mood for Love (2001)
  95. Far From Heaven (2002)
  96. Glory (1989)
  97. The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999)
  98. The Blair Witch Project (1999)
  99. South Park: Bigger Longer & Uncut (1999)*

The thing I like about this list is firstly that it has so many of the films I've enjoyed over the years on it. The other notion I'm reminded of is that I need to start acquiring more of these titles, not just the ones I've watched & enjoyed, but also some of the others on the list that everybody's watched, despite the fact that I imagine most non-critics haven't.

Anyway, onwards & upwards as my mother said.

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And so the Great Drought doth Endeth...

Or words similar to that effect.

I have recently (read yesterday) re-discovered both my blog and my desire to update it. Woot!

As some of you may be aware, I have not really been around on the internet recently. People keep poking me on MSN, asking how I've been. To tell you the truth, I've been busy. Really busy. So much so that the reason I don't reply is because by the time I get a chance to sit down at the computer, either they've gone offline, or I'm just too damn tired to have a long 'How've you been?' conversation.

So here is an update of what Will has been up to for the last couple of weeks:

1. Last week I was on a farm in Devon, looking after 4 Horses, ~300 Sheep, 37 Cattle & a Hyper-Active Sheep Dog (who I love to pieces btw).
2. Running around doing chores for people - lots of going to the tip with old crap, shopping with parents, general business, etc
3. Investigating the Appeals Process with regards to my Degree Result.

Number 3. is the real reason I've been avoiding you guys somewhat. When the results came out, I was hoping for a 3rd, possibly quite close to the 2:2 region. Instead I received an Ordinary Degree. I got just over 39.5% for my final year, which denied me receiving the extra credit I needed from the exam board to get my Honours. I initially felt very neutral over this, but given encouragement from my Family, I decided to investigate the Appeals Process, give it was such a small margin. Overall, we (Hannah & I, but mostly Hannah) felt as if I had been somewhat cheated by the University, as it is a rather large, life-affecting decision and to have it come down against me by such a small margin was ridiculous and made the exam board seem almost inhuman.

After much emailing, I finally had a meeting with the Dean of SciTech yesterday. Nice guy, told it like it is. He said that there are only 3 real categories for having an Appeal really (just look at the form!) & I only really fell into one of them by virtue of not being under the other two. He also said that, since I don't have one particular thing to point out about being unfairly treated, my appeal was likely to fail on grounds of it being too vague & basically just me being unhappy with my mark for no reason other than it's so close to a boundary. He admitted it was very close, near a very important boundary, but alas, not much is likely to come of it.

As such, I've chosen to end my appeal process now, before I end up wasting more time & money. I know it seems really unfair, but I've realised that I've just got to accept it & get on with my life. Maybe it's the wake-up call I've been needing, who knows. I can still appeal if I wish to, but with the deadline being Friday and me lacking both motivation & a strong case, it is unlikely to say the least.

So there we go, I am now officially, as far as me & my CV are concerned, William G. Tomlinson BSc.

Not that they've sent a certificate or anything yet...

Ironically enough (to me anyway), this is exactly what I would've got, if I'd dropped out of Uni last year. Oh well, the things we do to ourselves, eh?

For those of you in Brighton - I am currently incredibly poor & with out a job, so you are unlikely to see me for a little while yet to say the least.
For those of you who play Magic - Again, I am incredibly poor, don't expect to see me at the Eventide Prerelease.
For those of you I see more often - Please buy me a drink next time you see me, I am likely to a) Need it & b) Not be able to afford my own.

And lastly, for those of you I love - Please hang in there, I know I'm trying to.

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