346 days to save the world

Its been a long time since I last blogged, hell its before I even came to London and a lots happened since then. I’ve practically finished my first semester of uni for starters. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Lets go back to June 19th and my move to London

So I moved to London \o/ huzzah. Work is as borax as ever, my original shop down here was far too quiet for my liking but I’ve been moved to a better shop in Chinatown just off Leicester Square. Its a load busier and the customers are nicer. But still that wasn’t cutting it for me, so after a couple of months of waiting to see if there were any decent head office jobs come up I was running out of patience. After a particularly bad day for whatever reason I went home and decided to look into university courses for computer games programming. Kat had been on at me for ages to go and do something but I was still against the idea. Anyhow, there was a course going at London Met but seen as I was clueless to how it all worked I figured I would ring Clearing up the following morning at work. I figured I would need to do some kind of A levels or something and then apply in 2012 if I was interested, but after talking to someone about my qualifications and my history and what not I was given an unconditional offer to start this September (2011). I was pretty taken a back by it all, what it did mean was that if I was going to do this I had about a month to get applied and get all the arrangements sorted out. My knowledge of the process seemed to tell me it would take a bit longer but they seemed to think different. I got in touch with Joe to discuss it and see what he thought and look at what the funding entails. He put it in a way that made far more sense than anything else did that I could find, he explained it all away as essentially a graduation tax. This was easier to stomach then the thought of just over £30k in debt (Especially for someone who just worked his tits off to clear his existing debt). So I got everything sorted and everything else fell into place as it does, reduced my contract down at work (Theres another story to do with that yet lol) and I headed off to start my uni career

So since September I’ve been studying an Extended Computing Degree, which is basically a fancy name for a Foundation degree with a guaranteed switch onto another computing degree in the following year. As it happens its also a workaround for the uni fee hike next year. So whereas I currently pay £3375 a year for my tuition, I would have been paying over £7k if I’d applied next year. Because of the structure of the degree it meant I was guaranteed the lower fee for the duration of my uni life. Win! Anyhow yeah, Extended Computing Degree. Today I had my final maths exam for this semester and I handed in 2 modules of competed coursework (4 days early I might add). So I feel like I’ve made good progression so far, I’ve blitzed the foundation level as if it was a bowl of soup to a starving man. Apart from a brief near death experience with maths revision last night. I went from 11 weeks of 90%+ results to a sample exam of 28% and had the wind blown out of my sails by how much I’d forgotten by not going over it over the Christmas holiday. Thankfully after 6 hours of teeth gritting I got my marks upto 58%, which was enough for me to go into the exam today with the confidence to know I’d pass. As it happened a lot of it came back to me during the exam and I think I’ve done far better than my sample test made out. So now I’m left with a feedback session tomorrow for Computing Fundamentals, a report to edit for Developments in Technology and a final exam for Digital Electronics and then thats me until February when I start my second semester that finally gives me some programming to get stuck into 😀

Now although my original plan was to go down the Computer Games Programming degree path, as times went on my attitude changed as to what I was doing and I’ve finally settled on doing a BSc in Computer Sciences, with the aim of taking everything I’ve learned and using that to learn how to program games on my own. This then also gives me a solid grounding for any computer based career after uni and failing that opens the avenue for going into teaching. And who wouldn’t listen to a teacher who in his spare time is programming a game. I’d have been hanging on his every word if that was the case with me :E Schools should do more computer science kind of stuff, if I could have done programming at school I’d have been in my element. My plan is to attempt to learn a programming language myself during the course of the year and I’ve created an account at Code Academy and signed upto a thing where they’re doing programming lessons on a weekly basis by email. That should be interesting, and I’ve got all sorts of Java (or Javascript, I can’t recall) things lined up to get working through. So maybe one day Project MF Rainbows will emerge, although Project Zomboid is doing a good job of digging into the niche I’d aimed myself at. Time will tell either way

So we can go as far as thats uni covered then. Next would be the current state of affairs with Ladbrokes. Although my contract was “changed” from 35 hours to 21 hours (the minimum required to keep my free Oyster card) it hadn’t actually been updated anywhere, I was assured this wasn’t an issue. Then it came to having to sort out my holidays for the remainder of the year so I had to push for them to process it all properly so my holiday balance would update. When my contract changed finally, 3 times I checked to make sure the holiday was right. It said I had the equivalent of 5 weeks left which seemed to be wrong. But still, they were adamant it was fine. So I put down my holidays and alls well, at this rate I’ll barely be at work until April \o/ But it wasn’t to be. Although I was only clocking 21 hours on the system, I was still being paid for 35 hours. Nobody picked this up until I drew their attention to it. So in my payslip before Christmas I got a couple of lumps of coal from Ladbrokes, £320 was taken off my Christmas pay and my sheer rage at the timing of it made me overlook the fact that my holiday had been cut in half as well. This would become apparent when I came back to work and was casually told that they’d made a mistake. More rage ensued until it dawned on me there was precious little I could do to challenge this. But it did make me raise a few questions. Where would I stand if I’d (in good faith) booked holidays abroad for all these holiday dates I was told were definately mine and definately right? Would Ladbrokes have covered me for the cost of cancelling? Would they have had to honour it because they’d cocked up? I’d done everything in my power over the 3 months this was going on to ensure everything was accurate and by the book and in the end it all amounted for nothing

So now I’m using up all my holiday over the next couple of weeks as I’d already made plans and wasn’t going to cancel them. I’m still pissed off but I don’t have a leg to stand on bar firing off a letter of complaint to head office, but they don’t give a shit so all I’ll get is a letter of apology. Anyhow! Thats uni and work covered. What else?

Well theres the 2 month leak I had from upstairs. I had 2 broken showers above me leaking water on a daily basis into my flat and for a couple of weeks leaking onto my bed. That eventually got sorted. Not long after I moved down to London, Kat moved back to Cumbria (Good thing I didn’t move down here for her or I’d be well unhappy) and had a load of stuff stacked in a precarious tower in a corner of my room. She was coming to pick it all up in a van so I began to move it so it was easier to get at. Upon doing so I discovered that my room had a damp and mould issue that had been crippling my lungs for months. So that got cleaned and sorted and I ended up ill off work after poisoning myself with bleach. I recently cooked my first stir fry and last night ended up trying a method of batch cooking my own mcdonalds sausage and egg muffins. Erm, I’m struggling to think of anything else. Maybe I should move onto 2012 and all that

After all, its a big year. Its potentially our last one, and we’re all forgetting I’ve already discovered that I’m the end of it all. Although my last birthday passed by a little less interesting, I spent it mostly on a train travelling to Cumbria so I guess there was no time for starting earthquakes like the previous year. Must be saving it all up for this year I guess. So as this is potentially the last year of our existence it means its my last opportunity to do some things I’ve always wanted to do. So my plans this year are as follows!

Skydiving

I will become a qualified skydiver. In Summer, I will go on an intensive AFF course and become fully qualified before I start back at uni in September

Witness the Aurora Borealis

I will travel to Iceland (or somewhere else where its possible) and see the Northern Lights with my own eyes. Ideally, I want to do this around about my birthday. I seem to recall that part of the 2012 theory was that the planets would align and the earth would be the first out of line during a peak in the suns activity. So theoretically (And this is conjecture on my behalf) the very best Northern Lights will be happening as this is happening as we get blasted by these solar winds

Save the World

Clearly as I am the end of the world, it then falls on my hands to do my best I can to at least attempt to save it. Whether this involves skdiving during the Northern Lights and slaying a solar dragon (Which would make an awesome tale for my grandkids) or something a little more mundane like blowing into the solar wind to prevent it wiping out the Earth. If someones gotta do it, then it might as well be me

And thats it! I think as far as new years resolutions goes they’ll do. I’ve been writing this for a while now, and I originally lost sight of where I was going with it lol. So I’ll leave you where I anticipated I would begin. With some advice for anyone moving to London and starting a new job

Handshakes. London revolves around the handshake. Every day I must handshake male work colleagues, at university there are people every day I will shake their hands. This is an alien concept for me. Be prepared to touch lots of hands

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