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David's diary: July 1996

Dearest Diary

I apologise for the fact that I have lapsed rather lately. I knew I wouldn't be able to keep up this facade of being in control of my life much longer...

What's happened since last time, then? Well I went for the interview in High Wycombe, but they good as turned me down for the over-qualification chestnut, though it was a worthwhile experience and the guy had a lot of constructive comments to make, taking the attitude that I had taken the trouble to travel 50 miles to see him, and he was going to make the visit worthwhile. In the meantime I've applied for jobs at BMG and the Open University, the latter of which they have got back to me with a job description and a formal application form, so there's hope there I guess, and it looks an interesting job, developing course-based software for all their departments.

While back home I met up with an old college friend I hadn't seen properly for months, which was great, demolishing pizza, wine and garlic bread like there was no tomorrow - just before my interview actually; maybe not the best idea, but I don't think the interviewer noticed anything much amiss.

Our star engineer did the remix, which sounds absolutely stonking, but true to form, our boss wants "a few changes" made to it before he'll pay him for it. The engineer has, with arm twisted painfully behind back, agreed to make the changes, even though he suggested it would make it sound like something from The Waltons rather than the euro-trance that his preferred version is.

I spent a fair bit of today looking for a car, which was a new experience to say the least. I was eying up 1.2 litre Novas, and found one I really like for about 3 grand. Hopefully we can haggle the price down a bit though... More gutting though was ringing around for insurance quotes, where the cheapest I have got so far is only a little under 600 quid which is flaming ridiculous for a 26-year-old, even if I have only been driving a couple of months. I'll spend some of tomorrow ringing around because I'm sure I can get something for under 300 quid even if the excess gets bumped up to something astronomic. Churchill were going to clobber me in every way possible for being inexperienced, but were quite apologetic about it I guess...

Other than that, time has been spent getting ready for my holiday. Still a couple of weeks off, but looking forward to it as I haven't been away properly for years. I'm going to Dublin with some friends from college and the net, basically to spend a week soaking up the culture, and more to the point, the gorgious black stuff. I've sorted out cash and insurance, more or less, and I've ordered the rail tickets, so hopefully I can relax a bit for the last week or so. We're going to be youth hostelling, which works out cheap but basic, and low hassle.

No news on the accommodation front other than that I've until at least "early August" to sort something else out. Still all too soon, but at least it isn't going to interfere with my holiday which would have been an utter nightmare scenario.

Work has been as dull as ever, and if it wasn't for the car-hunting and holiday arrangements I think I'd have been very very bored indeed.

Bye for now, see you again hopefully rather sooner than before...

Well it's Friday and the weekend looms. Bored bored bored.

Only a week till I go to Ireland though, and on Monday, I'm taking delivery of my car! I bought a nice little 1.2 Nova Merit for 2800 quid including quite a few freebies, and finally managed to clinch fully comprehensive insurance with Direct Line for 262 quid. It's white, F-reg, but immaculate and has a sunroof and rear seatbelts, but the radio is a bit crap, though I will replace it with something half decent before too long. Maplin Electronics do a nice-looking unbranded RDS radio/cassette for about 130 quid which would be tempting.

On the subject of Direct Line, I think I would recommend them to any new drivers, though I understand they won't normally insure under-21's.

I bought a new musical toy the other day, a Yamaha RY-30 drum machine. I've been putting up with a nice, but rather old Roland TR-505 for a few years, finding it rather limiting, and the RY-30 severely beats it, with loads of different kits, including some quite respectable acoustic kits, for those who claim all drum machines sound electronic. It will also sound like some classic drum machines, with care, and you can add cards with new sounds when you get bored with the built in ones. Of course, spending a couple of grand on a sampler would allow a lot more flexibility, but for quickly cobbling together rhythms, a drum machine is still very effective. All in all, a good buy.

Phewie! Just been out for my first major trip in the Nova, and went in straight at the deep end! Not a mega-journey by any means, but driving on unfamilar roads, in darkness, was not my ideal first trip of any substance, but it was certainly a good experience. I drove probably about 10 miles to a friend's house, from where we went to Basingstoke (someone else driving now) to watch Mission Impossible - not bad, by the way, livens up somewhat as it progresses...

Anyway the car's nice though the clock doesn't work and the radio's not exactly stereo, though I'm going to get something better as soon as I can find the nearest Halfords or whatever.

Well better keep this short as it's quite late and I'm very tired after this unusually busy evening. Good night...

Bad news, and good...

In one week, I have had my beloved Nova stolen and recovered, been to an interview and more to the point been offered the job.

The car was nicked, literally from under my nose - I went outside to show my parents my new acquisition, and the engine was running, the left indicator flashing and two kids in the front. We thumped on the side of the car, but needless to say, the quickest way for them to escape was to floor it. When the car was recovered two days later, it had done about 160 miles, part off-road, and with a fair bit of damage, though hopefully repairable. Even more annoying was the stuff that got nicked from the vehicle, nothing instrinsically valuable, but a real pain when it's stuff like address books, brand-new road atlas etc.

Thankfully, I'm fully comprehensive insured on my mother's Metro, so I've got that for the time being, though hopefully the insurers and the repair-shop can quickly come to an agreement on mending the damage.

The interview was with the Open University to be a software designer with their Centre for Education Software, which produces software packages to support their various courses. I'll start in September, and of course have what appears to be full net access. The money is good, and I'll be part of quite a large team of designers, which will be good experience.

Ireland report

This is a brief report on the Ireland trip of a couple of weeks back. A fuller aftermath report with be published on the web shortly with gory photographs for all to enjoy, but in the meantime a brief overview follows...

We (myself, Alcides, Sundevil and Hmmm) travelled out on Friday 12 July by train, finally all meeting up ay Holyhead ferry-port. For most of us, it was actually the first time of ever meeting in real life - weird this internet friendship business.

We arrived in Dublin several sleepless hours later and managed to sob-story our way into the second youth-hostel we found, and persuaded them to open up the dorm earlier than regulations since it was clear we were most likely going to expire on the spot otherwise.

During a relaxedly busy week, we:

  • drank lots of Guinness
  • sat through a lock-in at a staunch nationalist pub
  • visited the Guinness Brewery
  • ice-skated
  • drank lots more Guinness
  • ten-pin bowled
  • used the only upstairs city-centre bumper cars we've ever found
  • drank even more Guinness
  • froze our nads off open-air swimming
  • discussed all manner of philosophical issues
  • drank a little more Guinness
  • admired the mushrooms growing in the men's washroom
  • cooked some most appetising meals
  • drank yet more Guinness
  • cooked some rather less appetising meals (but not many!)
  • generally had a marvellous time...

Further details on a URL to be announced, watch this space!

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