kelzadiddle: (Default)
Hello to all of my new Dreamwidth friends, and of course to my LiveJournal friends who have put up with me over the years! I have some pictures for you...

Lookie here! )
kelzadiddle: (Write Like a Mofo)
The WiFi didn't put up much of a struggle today! Not bad! That being said, I am using it in the Peter Froggatt Centre, which is nice to me as far as WiFi is concerned. But it's a nightmare in the stairs and navigation department.

I may be wrong, but I'm positive I was supposed to have a Peer Mentoring session today at 12. I got in on time, but there was nobody in their office. Oh well.

The Peer Mentors are basically a group of eight third year English students who take groups of first years such as myself in confidential weekly sessions where we can talk about our concerns, chat in general and have a laugh. My only concern right now is one they can't really help me with; I still can't get any of the Philosophy files on Queen's Online ('Free Will and Determinism' included) and it's driving me crazy. I need to read as much of that book as I can by tomorrow and I just can't find it! Argh!

I have a Philosophy lecture coming up, so I'll try and catch the lecturer beforehand and explain what's going on. Then, if I still can't get hold of the book, I just hope my tutor will be kind to me in tutorial tomorrow when I explain that I couldn't get hold of a copy. As soon as I can get it, I'll read it - hell, I'll read it twice - but if I can't get it today then I'm stumped for reading it in time.

I did an interesting calculation while I was on the bus earlier. My travel costs are £44 a week, right? I figured out that fifteen week's travel (so one semester) would cost me £660. So if I put 15 weeks' travel on my smartcard at the very beginning of each semester, before I buy anything else, life will be much less stressful. Most of my financial stress comes from worrying how my spending is all going to work out - whether I'll be skint by the end of the semester or not, and whether I'll be able to attend those last few weeks as a result. So if I prioritise my spending and make sure my attendance is covered first, followed by books, life will be much easier.

That still doesn't solve the niggling social problem, though. The buses don't run that late, so nights out are out of the question. I'm still planning on branching out socially; perhaps my smart card works for trains as well? This calls for research.

I'm also considering entering a competition online at a website called inktears.com - it's a short story competition and the prize is £1000, which would be most useful. The deadline's November 30, which ties in rather nicely with the end of NaNoWriMo - I'll try and get a few things put together before then and we'll see how it goes. Winning would be awesome, though. One, because it'll show that my writing is worth something and two, because that £1000 would cover a semester's travel plus something nice for myself, like an SLR camera or a bass guitar. Or books for the semester. Imagine the possibilities! If I won that, I'd have most of my student finance for leisure stuff!

Right, I'm definitely doing the Inktears competition.

GOOD NEWS, EVERYONE [/hjfarnsworth]

  • Sep. 29th, 2011 at 9:15 AM
kelzadiddle: (Louis Comfort Tiffany Photoshopped)
I have been paid!

This morning I was up at half seven, after only five hours of sleep. Straight downstairs and onto the computer; I checked my bank account and just over £1700 has been paid in.

You know what this means? No more stress, funds available for when I urgently need them... I'm going back to England for Christmas and I'll finally be able to get my own laptop - at last! Going back to the very beginnings of this journal, in the summer of 2007, one of the things I coveted most was my own laptop. And a publishing deal.

I'm in a very good place now, and after the utter terror that has been these past two weeks, I'm definitely going to be careful with my money. I'd hate to get to late November, for example, and find that my money has run out - because it'll be January that I next get paid.
kelzadiddle: (English is a Mugger)
The TV Beds fellow has been placated, thankfully, and my financial situation has been eased somewhat with my bus tickets being refunded. Steve said that since the normal expenses process would take too long - the money would only be paid at the end of September - he would give me the refund himself, out of his own pocket (yes, I thought I was tripping when he said this), and then he'd automatically be paid back as soon as the refund from Newsquest's accounts department went in.

He still owes me £5, apparently, but I'm not all that fussed - I just need enough to carry me over the weekend and to Wednesday. I'm so grateful that Steve has agreed to do this, though, especially in the way he has, giving me the money up front - if anything, I owe him for taking me on, giving so much constructive criticism (highly valuable to someone as inexperienced as I) and for putting up with me. I'll admit that more than once I've felt a touch incompetent and something of a burden!

Actually, I think the whole St Helens Star news team deserves thanks. It hasn't just been Steve who's helped me out. Andy, Steven and Mike, too; they've all been willing to advise me and give me the odd nudge in the right direction. They didn't start me off with work that was too difficult, nor did they have me trundling away on church fillers for four months. And then there was the constant supply of tea and biscuits - which was my wage, according to them! Invaluable.

Andy and Steven have told me a million times 'don't be a journalist - it's not worth it!' - well, in fifteen years when I'm still a lowly suffering penmonkey on a regional weekly paper... they shouldn't have made the job so enjoyable, should they? :)

On a serious note, though, I couldn't have asked for a bunch of colleagues more accommodating of me and my limited experience. Even though I've only been there five months (and only two more weeks after this, sadly), I've grown as a person in so many ways. I've found myself with great people skills, a greater understanding of politics and law, insight into how the journalism world works on a local scale... plus I've come away with a portfolio and some amusing anecdotes to drop when I'm at the pub! None of this would be possible if they hadn't taken me on; I'm indebted to those guys.
kelzadiddle: (Where But For Caravan Would I? Section)
I was almost an hour late into work today thanks to phoning both the Job Centre and National Express. News there is good-bad. I'll be going to the Job Centre at 11:40 tomorrow to renew my claim; I probably won't be on New Deal anymore but it's alright; as long as I get six weeks' pay and spend only on bus tickets, I should just be able to get my stuff to Ireland.

The Autumn semester starts on Monday, September 26, so I'll have plenty of time to save up and get my stuff over there. I've arranged with Steve to work until Friday September 9.

That was the good news. The bad news comes from National Express - as I expected, the coach tickets to Cambridge aren't refundable. Brilliant. That's £70 down the drain that I'd honestly be better off having.

It's going to be close, this whole moving to Ireland business. Not only will getting there be tough, I'm going to have to be bloody cunning until my Student Finance comes through, since the application went in a few months late. I'll have to make full use of the university's facilities until I can buy all my own stuff.

Speaking of university, I'm heading back to Cowley - Jason's old school - today to interview Oxford graduate David Mannion, who not only graduated with a First, he also won the Mary Somerville award for his achievement (awarded to all who get a First) and came fifth out of his whole year. He'll be about Jason's age, actually - I wonder if they were in the same year at school...?
kelzadiddle: (UFO Club Poster 1)
I think life's starting to screw me around again. I went to the Job Centre to find my claim's been closed since I hadn't gone back within five days of my TNG course ending - I only found out it had ended the week after - so I am now living on absolutely nothing. I have to phone the rapid reclaim line now to get it all up and running again, which could set me back a couple hundred quid, at least.

I'll probably have to leave work an hour early today to get it all sorted out as soon as possible, because I can't afford to waste any time. I feel bad asking Steve for time off, though, for what is essentially my own cock-up, even though he said if I ever needed a half-day I need only ask.

I'm sitting in Victoria Square right now, since there's no point going back to work for another half an hour. )

Time to Start Thinking About Moving...

  • Jul. 6th, 2011 at 8:04 AM
kelzadiddle: (Write Like a Mofo)
I've just been having a gander at the Stena Line and P&O sites, as it's time that I start seriously considering my move to Ireland. If I go by ferry, then I can take all my stuff and have a better time of settling in when I get there. If I've spent too decadently this year and a ferry is subsequently too expensive, then it's EasyJet and selective packing, as well as a massive essentials shop when I get there.

Thankfully, it's not looking like this will be a problem. Both Stena Line and P&O are offering returns for two passengers in a car for less than £210, which is under a month's pay for me (I get paid every fortnight). So if I can just stay the bloody hell away from my bank account for a couple of months, get some of these bus tickets refunded at last and sort out the coach tickets to Cambridge so I can pay Holly's Dad the £28 that I owe for the hotel, it'll all be snazzy and wonderful!

Another thing I've been considering for a little while is how to keep minions in England updated with my day-to-day conquests in Ireland. There are people who I want to keep informed with my shenanigans who don't really read or aren't massively aware of my journal. Mainly Dad, Sian, Laura, Jason and maybe Holly - I'm not sure how often she reads.

Originally I was just thinking about Jason, as he doesn't have an Internet connection in his house. I was going to print off the week's journal entries and post them to him. But then, this morning, the idea expanded to include other people. I could have a little mailing list thing going on!
kelzadiddle: (Default)
My meeting with Vicky has been rescheduled for Wednesday after work, which means that Jason will be tagging along - it'll be a nice little reunion! One with lots of teasing about, as Vicky put it, mine and Jason's 'love affair'. Should be interesting.

I seem incapable of typing today; I've just had to amend three typos in that first paragraph. Anyway...

Work's been quite busy the past few days. I've been trying to keep organised and on top of things but I've got so much going on at once that things have just blurred together - if you were to ask me about something that stood out I wouldn't be able to tell you.

Dad asked me to buy a couple of throws for the living room today. Our settee and armchairs are in horrendous condition and I guess he's just feeling a little awkward about letting Jason visit when they're in that state - not that he'd admit anything of the sort. So I went looking around... and if I'm honest, he can bugger off. I'm getting disastrously short on cash as it is without spending £24.99 and two lots of £17.99 (that's £60.97 in total) on the cheapest throws I can find that will cover our furniture. And I know there's no way he'd ever pay that back.
kelzadiddle: (Louis Comfort Tiffany Photoshopped)
Wow! I thought I was tripping out last night when I logged on and saw the little bar at the top of people's journals had changed, but apparently LiveJournal have been tinkering again. I'm on the fence about this latest edit; I don't really give a toss either way.

Last night, Anna invited Jason and I to a weekend bike rally with live music and alcohol. Great, thought I, remembering the two-man tent we had sitting around at home. Why not?

I was really up for it. Motorbikes, music and booze; come on, that's my idea of heaven. With added Jason, so it's actually better than heaven. I made a note to myself to check the tent in the morning to make sure all the bits were there and went to bed.

We don't even have the buggering tent any more.

When we lived in the old house, one of the local dweebs ruined it. Son of Eight; that kid couldn't let anyone have something he didn't have. Apparently he got in one day, jumped around inside and tore right through one of the walls.

So now I have to fork out for a reasonably-priced tent. If I'm honest, I'm a little bit irked as I hadn't expected that I'd need to spend anything on a tent. I thought I'd only be paying the £15 admission and then booze money. But because one little twerp got selfish a couple of years ago, I'm going to have to dig into my bank account. Again.

I think Wilkinson's might sell affordable tents - especially the big shop they have in St Helens that's right by the office. If not, there's that huge cash-and-carry on Baxter's Lane, Just the Job. That place is fantastic! I just need to find out when it closes to see if I can get there on time.

Happily, I'm going to TNG today to have two more bus tickets refunded. So I won't be as out-of-pocket as expected. What I get refunded should cover admission money and a tenner for booze, which is more than what I typically spend at the pub anyway.

It'll all be worth it, though, without a doubt. It'll be mine and Jason's first whole weekend together!

A quick update before I go to bed

  • Mar. 17th, 2011 at 10:32 PM
kelzadiddle: (Toybota!!)
I'm exhausted, but decided to post to a) update you with my progress and b) prove that I am still alive.

The Sponsorship

Sponsors: 28
Sponsorship Total: £92.50
Money Owed: £63.50
Money Paid: £29
Page Count: 98

Proof I'm Still Alive

I dunno. Throw a peanut at me or something!

Anyway, writing the sponsored novel has been stressful. I'm just about managing 30 pages a day but god, it's difficult. I think of a storyline to keep myself occupied and then it just disintegrates into babble. I'm starting to just write a series of unrelated bits and pieces. If I'm really struggling, I'm writing bits from 'The Chronicles of Stan' or 'The Great Couch Happening of '69' to boost my page count, or ranting pointlessly when times aren't quite that hard.

Also, I got my guitar and clarinet! I managed to totally ruin the G and high E strings on the guitar (they were worn as it was, then I played for a good two hours yesterday) and I'm finding the clarinet impossible to get any sound out of. I fill my lungs with air, blow, blow, blow harder and then get a high squeak just as I'm going blue in the face. And Dad took it upon himself to put it together while I was doing something else yesterday - forgetting to grease the cork bits. Now I can't take the damn thing apart. Thanks, Dad.

I seriously didn't think the clarinet would be so difficult. I don't know what I'm doing wrong, but I will get it to work. I'm not spending £90 on an instrument so that it can gather dust on my desk.

Ya haaarrrr, me hearties!

  • Jan. 9th, 2011 at 10:40 PM
kelzadiddle: (UFO Club Poster 1)
Blimey. All my posts of late have been Twitter posts. You know what? I'm not sure I like it, having all my tweets posted automatically onto here. Not because I don't like you all seeing my tweets - quite the opposite - it's because this is supposed to be a journal, dammit, not a Twitter feed. So I think I'm going to go ahead and disable Twittinesis. Those of you who would like to continue reading my tweets, you'll find me on the Twitterverse under the wonderfully obscure name of @SirKelsalot. I can usually be found slaying malware or going on about how much better the world is with sandwiches in it.

I've had a thoroughly uneventful start to the New Year. Apart from the partial eclipse faffery the other day, not a lot has gone on. I've been working away at my voluntary job and I had an interview in St. Helens which gave me an excuse to raid the record shop before going home. I haven't written much, I've drawn a bit. I've listened to music, bathed, slept a lot, had one or two weird dreams - just the usual, really.

I seriously, desperately need to get off my arse and start my novels up again. I miss them terribly.

Another thing I need to do is start saving. The last thing I want is to reach September and find that poof! I have no money, I'm still in England and term starts in three days!

Tomorrow is the very first day of my Prince's Trust adventure. We're gonna be tripping over mountains, gallivanting about and painting things... for the community! And I'm very excited for it, I must admit. Not just for the experiences I'm sure to have, but to see what a positive impact my team will have. According to The Prince's Trust website, the 12-week programme involves...
  • Spending a week away at a residential activity centre
  • Undertaking a project based in their local community
  • Completing a work placement
  • Participating in a team challenge, involving caring for others
  • Staging a team presentation, during which they recount their experiences
The residential sounds awesome. That kind of thing is right up my street. From what I've seen, it involves a lot of teamwork to help the group bond, outdoorsy stuff like mountain walks... if you know me well, you know that I absolutely adore mountain walks. The community project and work placement sounds pretty exciting, as well, and I can see how it can be valuable - gaining important skills, along with a sense of how good it feels to give something back to the community. I'm really looking forward to the team challenge, caring for others. when I did my interview, Tim showed me a video, and seeing how the team spoiled a group of the elderly was really touching - I nearly cried.

As for the presentation bit - well, we all know what a geek I am for presentations.

I should probably talk a little about my projects. I have a title for the second novel in 'The Chronicles of Stan' - it will be called 'Tea-Time With Vikings'. I find it appropriately silly and irrelevant, and shall have great fun making it a believable part of the story. Zurie and I have also decided to collaborate on something; a graphic novel called 'The Ballad of Haymarket Platform Zero'. This one will be in the works for a while as we've both got a lot going on (being busy writists and all, we spend far too much time being witty), but I assure you all it will be awesome. When it finally arrives, that is.

I've started a sketchbook for 'The Ballad of Haymarket Platform Zero', so as time progresses you'll be seeing many images and scans being uploaded. It depends on how fast I work.
kelzadiddle: (Louis Comfort Tiffany Photoshopped)
I have made like a genius and made a whole bunch of Amazon orders... mere days before Christmas. Consequently, my inbox has been quiet these past few days, save for the odd bit of spam e-mail here and there. The only e-mail from Amazon is one that begins with 'due to the adverse weather conditions...' yadda yadda. You can pretty much write the rest yourself.

Where have I been, this past week or so? Well, I was stranded in Lowton for the first three days, Due to the Adverse Weather Conditions. The rest of it I've spent working at the shop, watching Bleach, attempting to write... and generally doing anything but writing on here.

So here I am. Back. With a vengeance? No. More like with a slightly sore stomach.

It's under the cut because I'm a horrible person who likes making your f'list shorter... )

Right, people! Now that I'm done waffling about myself, what can I do for you lot this Christmas? Would you like to see some artwork up here (as it's been literally years since I've done anything worth posting)? Would you like to see more writing being posted, perhaps? Tales of my musical conquests? Anything else? Harass me. You have my permission.

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