Archive for the 'Countdown' Category

by Pat
on Sep 26th, 2011

0 Days: Phone Rant


So, I book my broadband connection in early September. They tell me a BT engineer can only arrive on the 28th at the earliest. I realise last week that the 28th is an induction/course briefing day. That’s my fault. I should’ve realised this a week before. So I phone this morning.

I’m now getting a phone line installed on the 18th of October. I’ll get broadband by the end of October.

About 6 weeks after moving in.

I’m fuming: largely at myself for leaving phoning PlusNet to rearrange, as I knew this’d happen. I’m also pissed off at BT for their deliberate long lead times, at PlusNet for the unapologetic nature of the call staff and their text message telling me it’ll cost £50 if I have to rearrange again. (£50, f**kin’ hell…)

Til then, I have 500MB a month with Orange.


That’s not really enough.

So… I phone Orange. To paraphrase:

  • Me: “Please can I have some more bandwidth this month?”
  • Them: “Sure! There’s a 500MB package you can have: £5 for 30 days!”
  • “Great, I’ll take that.”
  • “OK, we’ll have to remove your free 500MB add-on to apply it”
  • “Sorry, you’re saying I have to remove the 500MB I get for free, and replace it with an identical add-on for £5?”
  • “Yes”
  • “Is there a way I can have more than 500MB, oh and preferably not pay for what I’m already getting for free?”
  • “Er, we can move you to a different talk plan”
  • “I only want this for a month, and I’m happy with my talk plan. Can you not add an *additional* 500MB onto my account?”
  • “Er… do you have a dongle or another phone you can use?”
  • “No.”
  • “Oh, sorry”
  • “Bye”

Hey, Orange. Orange! Over here… come here… that’s it… now, put your ear to my mouth… go on, it’ll be fine… that’s it… there you go… ok… so… here’s the thing…YOU ARE F***ING TERRIBLE.


I’m off to enroll at Uni. And find some cafes with free WiFi.

Pat [Insert angry animated emoticon thing here]

by Pat
on Sep 23rd, 2011

6 – 3 Days: CATCH UP TIME!

Hello! Ok, I’d forgotten about blogging this week, I’ll admit it.

I’ve now remembered.

Here be a summary of Tuesday to Today!

Tuesday: Dossing

After the “fairly busy” past couple of weeks, I decided to doss about and not do a great deal today. It… was good. :)

Wednesday: Cycling

I decided to get off my lazy ass today, and headed out on my bike for a cycle along the seafront. A couple of hours and countless windswept miles later, I was knackered but happy – man, the coast around here is gorgeous. Cliffs (with cliff-top paths and under-cliff walkways), rocky pools, occasional golden sand patches and the big ol’ waves of the English Channel… awesome.

Oddly, on the way East I was finding things very easy in terms of riding – hell, despite the big waves it seemed the wind wasn’t actually hitting the shore. I was flying along with no wind resistence.

Yep, that’s right. I was cycling with the wind behind me.

Average speed on the way out: 21mph.
Average speed on the way back: 8.5mph.

Hence the “knackered” part :) Still, I now know that the Brighton Marina’s only about a 15 minute cycle ride from home, so cinema visits’ll be nice and easy.

In the evening I popped round to Rai and Matt’s place to say hello and, ahem, sponge off their Internet connection. We also decided to enjoy (well, I say enjoy…) Skyline.

I… wow.

Let’s put it this way, Matt managed found out that LoveFilm supports a 0.5 star rating on a film.

Ker-ist. I wouldn’t watch it again with yours. Whatever that means.

Thursday: Wandering and Funfair

Today my ex-workmate and ex-landlord Henry came down to see me in Brighton (and deliver the ironing board and office chair that didn’t quite make it into my car this weekend), which was great.

We spent the day walking around Brighton city centre, over to the Marina, along the pier and back. We did a fair bit of nattering.

Oh, and eating. Yesterday was an amazing day for great food:

  • On-the-pier donuts
  • Montezuma chocolate buttons
  • Vanilla Smoothie Shake Thing™
  • On-the-pier big fat chips

Hey, I was doing lots of walking.

After that amount of bad food, you’d probably think that going on rides that flung you around would be a bad idea. You’d… be right.

After Henry trundled back to Essex I met up with Rai and Matt at a travelling fun fair, which’d placed itself in that-park-in-Brighton-that-is-between-the-a23-and-a270, yeah-you-know-the-one.

We went on various fun rides (many of which seemed to consist of waiting for them to load the ride for 90% of the total ride time, but hey ho), did some pretty special on-ride dancing, and (if you’re me) started to feel a bit queezy.

Q) What do you do when queezy?
A) Stop going on rides.

Q) What do I do when queezy?
A) Go on a Vortex-from-Thorpe-Park-esque ride that spins you around on the end of a big swinging pendulum. Twice.


The second time in a row on that ride, suddenly my silly dancing was replaced by holding on tight and breathing in and out slowly.

Luckily the ride finished before a donuts/chocolate/vanilla/chip smoothie was spewed out over my co-riders. I even managed to keep it down once off the ride. All those years of travelling hungover pay off, you know.

Also, we went to the Duke of York cinema, which is one of those cinemas Mark Kermode loves (hell, he’s doing a talk on his book there in a couple of weeks).

It’s an independant outfit that takes care in its film projections, shows plenty of lesser-known films alongside the big hits, and occasionally shows some utter classics. Also, you get to sit in sofas and have tea/wine/cake/beer. Yep. It’s an awesome-sounding cinema.

Anyway, we went there to buy tickets to see Terminator tonight. Terminator. TERMINATOR. WITH BEER AND CAKE. Cineworld can kiss my ass. At least until I got there next week with my unlimited pass to watch a few films in a row, of course.

Friday: Drawing, Squee and Terminator

Today I’m gonna be drawing stuff. Tonight, there will be a visit to a pub playing Squee (some kind of electronic bleepy music, I’ve no idea what this is yet) and then heading to the Duke of York to Terminate my face up.

Bring it on!


by Pat
on Sep 19th, 2011

9 – 7 Days: Moving to Brighton

Saturday: Essex

Despite the ludicrous quantity of drinks the night before (thanks for a top afternoon/night everyone who came along :) ), I managed to get up at 8:30 and not feel like dying. I didn’t remember much of Friday post 5pm, but I felt fine. So fine, in fact, that I was back in the pub drinking ciders by 2pm.

Several beers and an awesome curry later, my final night in Essex was done.

Sunday: Essex to Brighton

Sunday. Was. Hard.

Packing the car to the brim with my remaining stuff, carting it down to Brighton, unpacking it and then proceeding to transform my Furniture And Belongings Pile into the actual contents of a flat.

I think I finally stopped the unpacking at 10pm, having started the packing at 10am. Ok, it’s not the craziest, hardest day in the world. But with a mild hangover it’s a total bloody nightmare.

Still, by the end of the day I had a lounge livable in, beds constructed, furniture all laid out and a BluRay playing on the telly. Plenty of unpacked boxes and bags left, but not bad for a day’s work. (A day’s work… hmmm… what is that again?)

Monday (Today): Brighton

My work alarm woke me up at 6:40am, and I fell out of bed thinking “Nnngh, Monday”. My second thought, on opening my eyes, was “Where the hell am I?”. My third, on realising and having a look out of the window, was “Wow. WOW. WOOOH!”

Finally, my forth thought was “Oh man, there’s still lots of unpacking to do.”

To cut a long story short: I’m now fully unpacked and watching Scott Pilgrim whilst typing this. Just need to go out and get some supplies and that’s it! I get to… er…

Actually, woah, what am I gonna do?

[looks out to the sea and remembers where I am]



by Pat
on Sep 16th, 2011


W O O H O O !

That is all.


by Pat
on Sep 15th, 2011

11 Days: Moving In Day!

Today I move into my place in Brighton.

“But wait!” I hear you say, “Aren’t you working in Essex tomorrow?”

Yes I am.

“Didn’t you state previously that you’re moving to Brighton this Sunday?”

Sure did.

“Surely it makes literally no sense to head from Brentwood to Brighton and back just to sign some papers and pick keys up?”

You’d think so. But then, you’d probably also assume that this Estate Agent would be open at a weekend.

You’d be assuming wrong. It’s a Monday to Friday thing only, my friend.

Mind you, I suppose MOST people work on weekends only, and thus it’d be massively inconvenient for them to have to take time of worOH-NO-IT’S-THE-OTHER-WAY-ROUND-ISN’T-IT?

I’m not too annoyed, mind. For a start I get to leave work at 1:30pm, and secondly I get to stand in my flat tonight and say “GET IN! I HAVE A FLAT IN BRIGHTON!”. A preview, if you like.

Let’s just hope the Estate Agent doesn’t close at 1pm.



P.S. The whole “About to stop being an employee of my company forever” thing still hasn’t sunk in. I guess the whole “leaving” process tomorrow might do it…

by Pat
on Sep 14th, 2011

12 Days: Empty Desk

Today I decided – despite having a couple of days left at work – to tidy my things away ready for carting them off in a box/bag/USB stick on my final day.

It’s been an oddly nostalgic process: I’ve stumbled across:

  • Old workbooks featuring my notes from the first week of my current job role in 2008 (I… I have learned a lot since then, it appears)
  • PowerPoint-based posters I designed for the Christmas Party in 2009 (yep, PowerPoint. I can only assume they’ll be using that as the primary design tool on my course)
  • Photos of me and my workmates in 2007
  • Leaving invitations of work mates long since gone

…oh and a huge amount of stupid pictures, doodled over the years in MSPaint.

And now… it’s all gone.

My desk drawers are clear, the surface of my desk clear bar the usual computery equipment, and my home drive is empty *.

Even though this is the case, the fact that I’m leaving forever has not sunk in.

I wonder when it will?

Monday morning, probably.

Til tomorrow (a.k.a. the penultimate day of employment)!


* Bar a folder called “France”, which although empty is “In use by another program” and so I can’t remove it using Explorer. Even though it’s almost certainly “In use” by another Explorer thread. I love Explorer. It is definitely not a steaming heap of shit.

by Pat
on Sep 13th, 2011

15 – 13 Days: Final Day Ideas

Well, I’m now into my final week of work.

At the time of writing I have 4 days in the office remaining (including today, as, well, technically my work hours haven’t started yet as I’m in early).

I think it would be a terrible shame to leave the company without doing something at least vaguely amusing.

Alas, I’m having not much luck with ideas. So far all I can think of is:

  • Office chair racing
  • Hiding a drawing of Squage somewhere no one’ll find for years
  • Changing various team members’ ringtones to The Final Paycheck
  • Burning the building down (they took my stapler)

Any ideas? Preferably something that won’t burn all bridges to a crisp… :-)



by Pat
on Sep 9th, 2011

17 Days: Squeezing It In

No, Carter. No. Stop it. No. Move away from the “Add a Comment” box. There we g-no! I see you! Come on. Back away… ok, that’s better.


Very soon I’m going to be a poor student, which means that there are a number of more, uh, extravagant things that I’m not going to be able to justify.

So, to make up for that, I’ve been squeezing those things in to the last couple of weeks. What things? These things:

  • A delivery pizza a week. At least.
  • Trips to London on a whim
  • Meals out
  • Trips from Essex to Brighton “just to scout things out a bit”
  • Buying cups of coffee rather than making it myself
  • Buying CDs I don’t really need because “It’d be nice to have that in my collection”
  • Saying “Ach, meh, don’t worry about the last train home, we’ll find a hotel – let’s get another round in”!

It’s been a pretty awesome week or two as a result. Perhaps less so the day after the decision in the final bullet point.

That said, I’ve a suspicion that when I’m in Brighton I might experience beers, pizzas and pig-out meals crawling along the ceiling at me. Lucky I’m gonna be focusing on training for a marathon, I suppose.

Well, I say “lucky”…


by Pat
on Sep 8th, 2011

18 Days: Leaving Corporate Life

And so it is nearly upon me. The day where I hand my office pass in to my boss, clear down my desk and head out of the building for the final time.

At times like this it’s hard not to think about the things I’ll miss about my current corporate life. Harder still to avoid pondering those things I won’t miss.

“Why don’t you write a blog entry talking about some of those things now, Pat?”

GREAT IDEA! Let’s go:

Key Things I’ll Miss

This is pretty obvious: the people and the pay. Ok, so this section appears ludicrously small in comparison to the one below, but that’s because it’s much more fun to write rants :-)

Key Things I’ll Not Miss

IT Systems

From computers I’d struggle to get Doom running on even with a special boot disk, though “rich” web-based systems that require $3 million worth of hardware and software to poorly emulate the old robust thick client systems / the perfectly functional old web pages that could keep themselves within 2MB a page, to centrally-enforced software rollouts that turn your PC into a tin box with flashing lights on it (“What do you mean you guys install software on your development PCs?”).

Corporate IT Systems, from what I gather, suffer from the following two issues:

  • The slow and complex nature of changing, testing and approving new systems across a huge organisation
  • A new solution often being a result of golf matches with suppliers rather than what’s measurably best. (This is of course a joke and in no way is Pat trying to suggest that A new solution often being a result of golf matches with suppliers rather than what’s measurably best – Squage). Er, that’s literally just what I wrot-(SHUT UP – Squage). Ahem. Yes, there is no second bullet point.


Want to copy a file over here? Sure! You just need to:

  • Raise this EU Change Request form
  • Raise this separate USA Change Request form (5 days’ notice at least)
  • Get the appropriate approvals from all appropriate parties (and some inappropriate ones)
  • Load the file into the “here’s the only place you’re allowed to have stuff copied from” area
  • Raise the paperwork to have it copied to the staging area (make sure you perform the appropriate file labelling and promotion first)
  • Raise the paperwork to have it moved to production (up to 5 days’ notice)
  • Make sure you’ve got the appropriate Service Centre Supervisor confirmation as we’re not in the 1 month that doesn’t involve some kind of “Freeze Period”
  • Make sure your previously approved system architecture document won’t be affected so you might want to involve the IT Policy Specialist to review your change.


Business Speak

I agree that in order to sing holistically from the same hymn sheet, we often need a heads together in order to ensure the important items are on our radars from the get go.

Perhaps using metaphors can incentivise a quick win when trying to action an idea shower into deliverables in the office going forward.

But heads up folks, I want to touch base with you on this: it only takes a bit of blue sky thinking in this space to realise using these low hanging fruit can damage your ability to articulate clearly.

I just don’t have the bandwidth to cope with it all cascading down to me, I can’t even be bothered to drill down into what wrong-sides me about it most.

If I could just get my ducks in a r(OK, STOP THIS NOW – Squage)

Ok, sorry. I must mention this though: my favourite BS phrase still has to be this, which was uttered only once to my knowledge by a former manager:

“We need to take the chastity belt off this project”

To this day, I still shudder to think of the manager strapping the project down and giving it a good seeing to. Think that dream in Office Space. “Yeeeeeeahhh… I’m gonna need you to go ahead and be delivered by Q4… don’t move… yeah that’s it… keep that deadline right… there…”

I’ll leave that image with you. Hope it pushed the envelope.



by Pat
on Sep 7th, 2011

19 Days: The Final Departmental Meeting

You might remember that in the previous departmental meeting I was at, I was making copious “notes”. Today, because it was my final ever departmental meeting, I decided to mark this occasion by making even more of them.

Well, maybe only two notes. With one spoken by the other.

Both of them musical.


Meeting Doodles

What, then, did not happen was me drawing up the weird monster guy using my work PC over lunch. No. If that had’ve happened, mind you, it might’ve looked a little something like this:

FACT: “ + A Mouse” < "Adobe Illustrator + A Wacom Tablet Pen" Toodles, Pat

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