Archive for August, 2011

by Pat
on Aug 31st, 2011

26 Days: The Final Paycheck

Today is the final day of August. It’s my pay day. But it’s more than that. It’s my final pay day with a paycheck worth mentioning.

Have I made a TERRIBLE TERRIBLE TERRIBLE over-long and out-of-tune piece of audio, to mark this occasion and in honour of the karaoke night I’m going to be ruining with my voice on Friday?


Here are the lyrics (well, the original ones. This doesn’t include the ludicrous amount of off-script nonsense):

I leave in September
So soon it’s farewell
And don’t think I’ll come back
But then, who can tell?
A change in career is to come
I’m Uni bound
So here comes my last bit of earned money

It’s the final paycheck
The final paycheck

I’m heading for Brighton to drink til I fall
‘Cause I’ll be a student and having a ball, yeah
With so many projects to do and beers to be found
(To be found)
I’ll miss having monthly new cash to blow…

It’s the final paycheck
The final paycheck…


by Pat
on Aug 30th, 2011

27 Days: Patience

It’s a virtue, they say.

And by “they” I mean most people I ask about patience (those who don’t are usually doctors who haven’t quite heard me correctly).

If that’s the case, then call me Alan Non-Virtuous. There’s nothing * worse than sitting around waiting for something you know’s gonna be awesome.

Alas, that’s what I’m doing at the moment. On the 26th of September I start Uni, doing a two year FdA in Digital Media Design, down in Brighton. It’s going to completely blow my mind and open a range of opportunities I can only begin to imagine.

However, I’m at work until the 16th of September. Having resigned on the 1st of July, I’ve already got the vast majority of my handover done and as there’s no one to replace me yet I’ve got no one to train up.

So I spend a lot of my time looking at my Outlook calendar, seeing the “Last day” appointment, looking at “DAYS TO GO.xls”, checking the current date, looking at my Outlook calendar, seeing the “Last day” appointment… and so on.

Anyone fancy a coffee? I wanna chat about the number of days I’ve got left.





* Aside from fingernails scraping on a white board, forgetting to lock your car after walking across a car park from it in the rain, genocide, stepping on an upturned plug with bare feet etc.

P.S. Obviously I’m doing lots of work too. Just to be clear. The above is for comic effect, oh Beloved Employer™. Do not confuse silly posts with serious ones. Always read the label (and check the pills themselves). Your home is at risk if it’s made of bits of slugs and you’ve built it by a salt factory.

by Pat
on Aug 29th, 2011

28 Days: Preparation

This afternoon I’ve been doing some serious preparing for my Uni days: idly sitting on my ass and watching terrible day time telly.

If nothing else, it’s reminding me just how terrible telly before 6pm is. I actually feel like going to do some ironing. Or even starting to pack things. It’s that bad.

Things’ve got at least mildly better now: Come Dine With Me. Today it features a self-confessed “typical hippy feminist vegetarian” lady and a massively sexist south african gentleman. It’s good to see Channel 4’s Ex-Big Brother casting person’s got a new job at least…


P.S. Oh, I’ve just realised: this is the last bank holiday Monday I’m going to be happy about for a long time. From now on they’ll just be Pain In The Ass, Shops Closing Early™ days. Who says my life choices don’t involve sacrifices?

by Pat
on Aug 28th, 2011

29 Days: Hall And Oates

So, within the month I’ll be working largely with 18-20 year olds on my Uni course.

It’s going to be quite the contrast to my current work, where I’m the youngest in my department.

As a result, I’m a little concerned that I might be a little Hall And Oates (i.e. Out of Touch… HA HA HA! CONTEMPORARY REFERENCE, KIDS! HA HA HA!) with my coursemates.

To prevent myself feeling like the granddad of the team, I need to get down wid da kids.

How? Well, I think the list below will help me seem like One Of The Yoof:

  • Saying “Dude”, “Rad”, “Cool” and “Hip”
  • Playing Gameboy games
  • Swearing using “Bloody” and “Ruddy”
  • Blaming Thatcher for most things
  • Knowledge of the Radio 4 schedule
  • Regular assertions that a good night in is far better (and much more cost effective) than a good night out
  • Wearing heat-sensitive T-Shirts. And Neon. Lots of neon.

That should help, I think. Any other ideas?


“What? In his thirties? With this economic outlook? Quitting a career and going into education? He’s a fool.”

It’s something I’m sure people have thought when I’ve told them my intentions. In fact, I’ve had people say similar directly to me.

Often, it’s hard for me to articulate a response clearly on the spot.

Fortunately, with a blog post, I have a little more time to explain things. I’m not really sure it’ll make much difference. Here goes anyway!

What’s the Reason for Uni?

My current situation:

  • I’m not happy where I am
  • I want a creative career, but not entirely sure what
  • I have a talent and passion for art
  • I don’t have experience in it

Therefore right now, I don’t feel confident to go for a creative role, and frankly I don’t have the experience or knowledge of exactly what floats my boat.

Uni should give:

  • Opportunity to explore many creative roles
  • Plenty of experience (it’s a vocational course with work for real-life clients)
  • Inspiration (like-minded people, freedom to explore ideas, interesting part of the world)
  • Vast improvement on my skills
  • A big boost to my confidence

By the end of Uni, I should be in a much better place in terms of skills, experience, confidence and (one hopes) employability!

Why Now?

There’s no time like the present. It’s a cliché, but it’s true.

Of course, you could argue that it’s too late in life to be doing something like this. That by now I should be:

  • Married
  • Soon to be a parent
  • Working my way up the career ladder

Well, that’s all lovely. But I’m not. Oh and it’s not too late, dufus.

You don’t just suddenly decide to settle down. You need to be ready, and guess what? I’m not. I never have been. Why? Because I want to be happy in my work first, doing something creative and ace.

Until then, “settling down” is a pseudonym for “just settling”.

Previously I’ve let The Fear Of Risk™ stop me from taking a leap of faith towards what I really want. You could argue I wasted much of my 20s due to this *.

Well, enough is enough. Yes, I’m not a yoof anymore, but I’m also never going to be as young as I am right now (which both rad and skill).

  • Have I got ties? Nope.
  • Can I afford to do this? Yep.
  • When the hell will I get a better chance than now? Good point. You knows it.

But Quitting Your Job in this Economy?

Yes, I’m afraid so. To be honest, my reasoning here is similar to that above.

I can’t predict the future, but I can make a positive change to my life.

Sure, it’s risky, but then I consider the following things:

  • You’ve already worked out this is the best change you can make right now.
  • The worst case scenario is: you try to get back into IT, with 9 years’ experience under your belt, various references and both an IT degree and digital creative FdA to accompany them.
  • When you’re 50, even if it all goes to pot, you’ll be happy that you at least tried.
  • If it all goes well, who knows what you’ll be doing in your mid 30s!

My conclusion is always this: bring on the return to education at 31. :-)


* Aside from the trip to Nz/Oz. That… that was frickin’ amazing.

P.S. Special kudos to my mate Jimbo who rightly suggested the best response to anyone questioning my motives is this: “I’m doing it because it’ll make me happy. So f**k off.” :-)

by Pat
on Aug 26th, 2011

31 Days

  • Four-and-a-bit Weeks
  • 1 month
  • One twelfth of a year
  • 1/120 of a decade
  • A very small period of an ice age
  • A ludicrously small segment of the Earth’s age
  • The amount of days remaining before I sit in reception at Brighton College thinking “Blimey. I can’t believe I’m doing this.”

Yep. I’m leaving full time employment and am off to Uni at the age of Thir[mumblemumble]e.

Things are gonna be changing for me in 2011.

I’ll explain more about what the heck I’m going to be doing, what the hell caused me to do it and how the move is going in future posts.

For now, I’m blogging to let you know that I started my countdown to The Change in true design student style: knackered through staying up too late doing drawing *.

That’s how I roll :-)


* Alas with no beer… but I’ve a feeling I’ll fix that over the bank holiday weekend.

I’ve just been listening to some of Hanz Zimmer’s superb soundtrack to Christopher Nolan’s equally superb film Inception, whilst sitting at my desk in work.

My God.

Writing emails about system migrations and launch confirmations has never felt the same.

Normally my feelings around these sorts of things would be best described either as a colour: grey, or as a sound: ppft.

However, with particular tracks from the Inception soundtrack blasting in my ears:

  • UK WAR File Deployment Change Request completion:
    • Normally: shrug
    • When listening to The Dream Is Collapsing: a panicked, frantic mashing of keys desperately trying to explain that “everything is OK!” before the Change Request team lose all patience, fork out tens of thousands of pounds on flights and head here from America with rage in their eyes.
  • PVCS to AccuRev content migration:
    • Normally: meh
    • When listening to Time: an email of such world-changing importance that every keystroke composing it has more impact than any corporate-changing strategy ever written by a top excutive. On sending, a sense of immense pride and excitement fills one’s soul, purely to have been a part of such a historic event. Tears are almost wept at the sheer gravity of the situation.
  • Dev systems account password update confirmation:
    • Normally: tum-tee-tum…
    • When listening to Dream Within A Dream: utter terror; they might be development system passwords only, but oh god – what if someone uses the old one before the email gets out? The impact… THE IMPACT. Hurry, Pat, HURRY! Oh god, oh god, is everyone on this list of recipients? What if I forget someone and… oh man, check it again, Scullion, CHECK! If even one of those accounts get locked… tens… no… THOUSANDS may die! SOMEONE GET THE PRESIDENT, NOW! THE PASSWORDS HAVE CHANGED!!

So, basically, the Inception soundtrack inspires ludicrous hyperbole. :-)

If you’ve got a fave soundtrack for work spice-upping, what is it and what’s its effect?


by Pat
on Aug 15th, 2011

Les Vacances A France

C’etait bon.

At least that’s what I think I should say, from what memory I have of French spelling. I don’t really remember how to spell things in French. Nor, to be honest, how to say them either.

That said, despite my lack of language knowledge, the 2 week holiday in France that I just had with Lev, Jess and Katie was indeed tres bon.

Or trés bonne. Or trésse bonn. Delete as appropriate, or replace with something that makes sense.

It was excellent to get away from things for a bit, and to have a chance to wind down and catch up on some sleep.

Our home was in Cénevières: a beautiful French town situated in the green arable pastures within the valley of the Lot river. It’s overlooked by impressive hills and cliffs and features friendly, relaxed locals and occasional lost tourists.

Cénevières is close to various other lovely French towns and such sights as St Cirq Lapopie and the Pech Merle Caves (featuring 25,000(!) year old paintings). Well worth a visit.

I’m tired after the long ol’ drive back, so here’s a Lazy Bullet Point Based List™ of the things wot I dun did, in no particular order:

  • Ate lots of bread and cheese.
  • Watched a huge electrical storm that surrounded the whole valley. We sat on the grass in the villa’s back garden, only coming inside once it started raining (which purely by chance coincided with when the storm was at its closest to us, as I am not a wimp (He is a wimp – Squage)).
  • Posed for photos on the edge of a 50-100m drop in St Cirq Lapopie (told you I wasn’t a wimp (We’ve not seen your expression in the photos yet… – Squage))
  • Ate cheese.
  • Wandered along a disused rail track, including over a river bridge and through a spooky tunnel. In France, they don’t pull up the sleepers and track – they just let nature take over the track. It’s an eerie, slightly scary experience, particularly when wandering through a disused train tunnel, which could easily pass for an in-use tunnel were it not for the lack of the sound of any oncoming Metal Death on Wheels…
  • Ate bread.
  • Stared at the breathtakingly clear night skies, admiring the milky way, a couple of satellites (not planes, disbelievers! (Yep. Probably high-up planes – Squage)) and a shooting star or two (A… very fast… plane? – Squage). Shut up. (Ahem – Squage)
  • Ran around little back roads, either by myself or with Lev (aka “The Running Machine”). Good fun, if flippin’ knackering (particularly when the “ideal cloudy weather” fast becomes “not entirely ideal baking hot sunny weather”)
  • Ate some cheese and bread
  • Cycled through beautiful farmland and villages, rekindling my love of biking.
  • Ate bread.
  • Ate cheese.
  • Stared in awe at 25,000 year old paintings in the Pech Merle caves (whilst secretly wondering if someone could’ve just put them on the wall in the 1950s)
  • Played the new exciting game “Water Still Alive Keepy Uppy”. Yes, it sounds strange, but it’s a soon-to-be-mega-popular sport. It’s definitely isn’t just a variant of passing a ball to and from people in a pool for as long as possible. Noooo…
  • Ate bread and cheese.
  • Jumped into and swam around in the Lot river. Twas quite an experience – beautiful trees lining the banks, gorgeous houses with turrets in the distance, and deep black depths below. Occasionally 20ft boats would trundle past, but fortunately the current was negligable so one could get out of the way without any trouble. All in all, twas damn refreshing and relaxing. Apart from when accosted by underwater reeds. Then it was more like swimming through jam.
  • Played various board / card games, and generally lost them (aside from one at-the-last-minute smashing in Settlers of Catan – FEAR MY SPECIAL 4 VICTORY POINT EXPLOSION ON MY LAST TURN!)… and don’t talk to Lev or I about Table Football against Jess and Katie…
  • And lots more… including the consumption of both wheat-based food and the matured products of cows and goats. Quelle surprise. Ooh, looks like a bit of French came back to me, after all. Bon actual jour.

Au reviour,

Pat :)