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Sunday, July 30, 2017

2017 Goals

I had some goals in mind when I started the year, but I didn't feel like setting any goals - there wasn't much point in setting half of them when I was unemployed and had next to zero income.

Sure some I could achieve that didn't cost money, but many goals do involve expenditure.  It seemed pointless - but I had a list in mind.

Now I am a fully-fledged permanent employee, it is time to set some goals for the rest of the year.

I am writing a full set of annual goals as if it were the 1st January.

Lifestyle

Lose weight.  My ever un-achieved goal.  This year I really, seriously want to get down to 82kg.  I started the year at 90kg.

37 day detox.  37 years old, 37 days without alcohol, caffeine, chocolate and cake.  And hopefully a reduction in alcohol intake during the rest of the year - I am now counting units drank (and not in an 18 year-old boasting kind of way).

Pie Day.

Get on my bike.  Another one I fail every year, I am less capable of cycling than last year.  If I can do a 9km ride then I will call it achieved.  Alternatively find some form of exercise that I enjoy.

Dating.  Go on one date.

Exploring

4 new countries.  I only went to 1 last year when the target was 2 - there really was no excuse for not going somewhere else.  Even by myself.  So this year, 4 countries.  Starting with Slovakia in January, and hopefully 3 more.

Top 20 places.  Go to one of the places on my top 20 must-visit list.  And get around to publishing my list!

Random country.  Two years ago I picked Switzerland as my random holiday country (well I picked Somalia first, yeeeeaaaahhhhhhh).  Time to go.

Road trip to Hull.  Take at least 1 friend to Hull for the City Of Culture celebrations.

Cricket.  Go to a new cricket ground, and also see a 20/20 game.

Museums.  Go to some museums - Science and Design museums are top of my list.

Coding

Get a coding job and keep my coding job.

Learn Angular or React - both vital frameworks if one is to be a successful coder.

JavaScript.  Continue to expand my JavaScript knowledge and focus on this as much as possible.

Getting paid.  Do my first paid project - doesn't matter if it is just £100.

Sunshine Design.  Finish my Sunshine Design website and launch my website building agency.  In the event of employment, this will not be my priority.

Blogs

Roast Dinners in London.  Make Roast Dinners in London the top roast dinners blog in London, and add all the extra functionality that I have in mind for it.

Secret Blog.  Finally launch my secret blog that I am not telling anyone about (unless I get really drunk and you are really attractive).

Election Odds.  Expand and professionalise my blog and hopefully make a few quid out of affiliate links.

Crazy Football Bets.  As above - though I'm less bothered about this.

Purchases

New PC.  This heap of junk is so slow and keeps crashing.

New phone.  This heap of junk is so slow and keeps freezing.

Finance

Give more money to charity.  I don't give huge amounts and I am not setting my financial target in public, but I want to give more to charity.

Increase savings.  I want to try to increase my savings by £2,000.  Impossible without a job, and probably impossible with a job in London.

Invest.  I want to invest at least a portion of my fairly meagre savings - not sure into what yet.

Political betting.  Invest some more money into political betting, which I am quite good at winning on.

DJing

Monthly DJing.  Keep the Dark Matter night and try my hardest to ensure it is the go-to night for underground house/techno in Reading, and that my friends do occasionally visit.

Monthly DJ mixes.  I want to record DJ mixes and release them once a month, if possible.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Complaints - Society 6

Dear Society 5

I recently bought two t-shirts from you, I say recently, I mean a few months ago. It was my first purchase from yourselves.

I wore the yellow one for the second time on Sunday, when walking around central London looking at the hot women on holiday in our not so hot capital city. When I drooled onto my t-shirt, I noticed that there was a hole between the main part of the t-shirt and the band around the top - is it a collar?

I had only once previously worn it which was in Ibiza when I went to meet some bloke I had met in a nightclub the night before to buy some very expensive small packs of salt from him - €30 for 0.6g of salt. Can you believe it?

Anyway, I'm not happy with the quality of this t-shirt - the other one is fine.

I don't particularly want a replacement, as I'll take it to Hull where my mam lives so she can sow it. Have you ever been to Hull? City Of Culture 2017. You should check it out - London is so passe.

Regards
James

******

Hi James,

Sorry to hear about the shirt here.  I do love the picture you painted here.

Instead of a replacement, please accept this voucher for $25 off your next order:

Look at that!  Covers the cost of a new shirt.

Please let us know if you have any other questions.  Sorry again for the inconvenience here.
Sincerely,
John

Monday, July 24, 2017

Job Offer

You know those e-mails from recruitment companies?  As someone with the word 'JavaScript' on my portfolio, I am in demand.  Mostly I delete them without reading, but occasionally I am tempted to play along...especially when they have a Spanish name...

******

Good afternoon James,

I hope you are well. I just tried to reach you to discuss a Javascript
Developer role we have in Malaga (Spain):

http://www.pentasia.com/vacancies,frontend-developer_5243.htm [1] [1]

In case you could be interested, please let me know when I could
contact you so we can discuss it further. Otherwise, you can always
reach me here: +34 933443225 [2].

Looking forward to hearing from you soon.

Kind regards,

******

Hola Sandra, como esta?

Trabajar es España?  Si solo...amo España mucho.

I'm actually very happy living and working in London at the moment.  However with Brexit approaching, and especially if Jeremy Corbyn becomes Prime Minister, then I would be very keen to work in a vibrant, growing economy like Spain - as long as Podemos are not in government.  I know Rajoy and his lot are a tad crooked but it seems like their economic reforms are working.

I fear for the future of my country at the moment - it is like everyone has gone insane - but Spain looks like it is putting solid foundations in for a good future.

Feel free to keep my details on file and contact me if disaster happens and the socialists take over the United Kingdom.

All the best
James

******

Shock horror - she didn't read my e-mail...


******

Good morning James,

Thanks for the quick reply.

So, would you be interested in having a little chat over the phone so
I can tell you a little bit more about the roles?

In case you are, please send me your contact details and tell me when
it would be a suitable time for you to talk.

Best regards,

******

Que pasa?  Is Jeremy Corbyn Prime Minister? :-(

To clarify, I am not currently interested in a new job - however if the UK becomes a socialist disaster then please do contact me.

Gracias, tiene un dia buena.
James

******

Good afternoon James,

Thanks for the information. Let's stay in touch then.

Best regards,

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Review Of 2016 Goals

I never bothered reviewing my 2016 goals, or setting 2017 goals, as I was unemployed.

Better late than never.

Lifestyle

Lose Weight – My original plan was to get down to 87kg last year, then 83kg this year.  Given that I failed, I’m amending this to 85kg this year (I’m currently 91kg as of writing).

Failed.  90kg by the end of the year.

36 Day Detox – I’m upping it by 5 days this year (in effect an extra weekend, eeek!) and including processed meat such as bacon and sausages.  It started on 27th January.

Passed.

Get On My Bike, More – I’m aiming to be able to cycle 12km in a single stint by the end of the year.  I can currently manage 6km.  I will be going for a ride most weekends that I’m not partying, and some evenings when it is light.

Failed.  I can do even less.

Vegetarian Day – I have cut down the amount of meat I eat – not for any other reason than trying to manage my calorie intake.  However I still always eat meat every day so I am going to go one day without eating any meat to see what happens – this does not include those days post-nightclub where I am too fucked to eat.

Passed.  I think I inadvertently managed one day without meat.

Pie Day – You can work this one out for yourself.

Failed.

Living

2 New Countries – If I go to 2 new countries a year for the rest of my life, I will have been to a fair proportion of the planet.  I’d particularly like to go to Romania and Switzerland this year, but I’m not too fussy over the exact countries.  Dipping my toe into Scandinavia appeals, as does Athens.

Failed.  Only made it to Romania.

1 Party Holiday – The obvious choice will always be Ibiza and assuming I can find appropriate dancing partners then this is likely to happen.  Alternatively maybe a festival abroad such as Sunwaves, or if I don’t do Ibiza, then book Mexico next January for BPM.

Passed.

1 UK Adventure.  There are still some areas of the UK that are unexplored for me.  Cambridge and Brighton being two examples of places that I really should have been to.  Others such as Newcastle, Liverpool and Bristol I have been to, but to a very limited extent.  I live in a fantastic country and I want to explore more of it.

Failed.

Cricket – I want to go to a new cricket ground, and also to watch a 20/20 game live.

50% passed - went to Lord's.

Castles, museums and country houses – I want to visit at least one countryside-based grand house, and one London-based museum, or similar cultural experience.

Probably passed.

See Ricardo Villalobos.  It is my only must-do clubbing adventure.

Failed - I did go but he didn't turn up.

Go clubbing 6 times.  Not fussed where nor who to see.

Passed.

Fabric birthday.  Best party of the year.

n/a.  It was closed.

Learning

Free Code Camp – There is a really good website which is helping me practice my coding skills.  I want to be at least close to completing the Front End certification by the end of the year – say 2/3rds done.  Given that the certificate takes an estimated 800 hours, this is quite some objective!

50% passed.

JavaScript – I particularly want to focus on learning JavaScript this year, and try to get more of a handle on it.  It really is very difficult to learn.

50% passed - not as focused as I should have been but certainly improved.

SASS, PHP, Angular, React & CSS Animations are other languages/areas of web development that I would like to at least like to start learning.

25% passed - learn some PHP.

Portfolio – I must have a portfolio of a few websites very shortly.

100% passed.

Become 100% fluent in Spanish.  According to the app that I use, anyway.  Duolingo reckons that I am 41% fluent right now.  I can read it pretty well but speaking and listening are so much more difficult.

50% passed.  I got bored.

Cooking – I want to get another cookbook from another country, and also expand my knowledge of salads.  Yes, you read that correctly.

Failed.

Learn About Music – At some future point when I am not spending huge amounts of time studying web development, I would like to learn how to make music.  My goal for this year, is just to do some little thing about it.

Failed.

Literary

Blog Refresh – I aim to refresh all of my blogs, giving them a slightly different feel at the very least., with the exception of the recently-launched blogs.

25% passed.  I refreshed a few.

Top Tunes Blog – This I aim to professionalise.  Unfortunately what I want to do costs a bit of money so I keep putting it off.

Failed.  Kind of started.

Weather Forecasting – I’m currently close to 2,400 readers on my weather forecasting page.  I want to reach 3,500 by the end of the year and also I intend on starting a new weather project via a new website I am soon going to be building.

Passed.

Ubereadoolische – This is being relaunched soon with a more modern look – it is also written in Drupal, which is a content management system that I wanted to learn.

Failed.

Roast Dinners Around Reading – This finishes this year and I want to go out in style.

Passed with flying colours.

New blogs – I have ideas for new blogs, and I want at least one of them to replace Roast Dinners Around Reading.

Passed.  I have too many blogs.

Discard blogs – Some old blogs have to be disposed of.  Time is short.

Hmmmm.

Lavishments

Technics – I will be buying a pair this year, along with CDJ stands and some decent headphones that I will not let anyone borrow (ie steal) ever again.

Passed though I barely play them.

Supermarket Slut – I want to test out all the major supermarkets to see if there is anywhere else that I prefer to Sainsburys.

Passed.

Life

Get out of Bracknell – Pretty self-explanatory.

Passed with style!

Get a job – There is some uncertainty as to how long I will have this current job, so at some point I will need to start looking for another.  Ideally as a junior web developer, but the money would be low to start, very low, so maybe as a senior credit controller if I can find something interesting.

Passed.  Then failed!

Laugh more – Quite simply I want to enjoy life more and I want to be happier.  Therefore I must laugh more.  Even if it is just a daily belly-laugh to weird out my colleagues.

Not sure.  Let's call it 50% achieved.

Exactly 50% success rate.

Sunday, July 02, 2017

Loving London Life

You know when you ask someone how they are?  Many people just give the same answer every time - their cat might have died but they're fine.  They just had an amazing blow job but they're still fine.

I normally think and give an answer.  Occasionally if I'm tired, in a rush, too many people have asked me or just don't like the person asking me, then I'll give the bland answer.  But I like to treat people's questioning of my health and happiness with respect, and give them a considered answer.

At the moment, it is noticeable how often I am using the words, 'good' or 'happy', or words to those effect.  Perhaps it is the sunshine.  But I don't recall using such positive adjectives this time last year (even before the referendum).

What has changed?  Quite a lot.  This time last year I was doing credit control in Bracknell, living in Bracknell.  Now I am doing web development in London, living in London.

I simply love being in London.  I have been threatening to move here since about 2005 and sometimes question why it has taken me so long.  Though I wouldn't have all the wonderful friends I have now, were that the case.  Definitely no regrets.

But still, it does feel like this is the making of me.

London is a tiring city.  Yet so energising.  There is always something to do - always something I want to do.  From walks in the many beautiful parks, to museums, bars, clubs, mini-festivals, restaurants, drag king nights - my to-do list is rammed.

Time is limited by work though.  It's a long day, working 9-6, with over an hour each way for commuting.  Rare is there an evening where there isn't something I want to do - rare is there an evening where I actually do anything though, for fear of not getting my 8 hours sleep (which never happens anyway).

But work doesn't feel like work.  There is a buzz walking through the city, I have a nice park to sit outside and in my lunch in.  There is a myriad of street food places to try - which I am promising myself I will when (if) I lose this belly - amazing looking food everywhere.


Work itself doesn't feel like work.  A comfortable office, very nice people, a few absolute hotties, free food and drink at times - the actual work I enjoy.  Well, occasionally it is frustrating, I can spend hours trying to fix the position of something - then make a semi-complex function in 5 minutes.  But the frustrating bits are part of the fun - the feeling of elation when I solve a problem, which was utterly non-existent in credit control.

Even the tube journey I am content with.  Air conditioning helps.  Normally I get a seat at some point during the journey if I position myself correctly (I always allow women or old people to sit down first).  And normally there are some hotties on the tube too.

In fact, I seem to fall in love several times a day.  And I am in love with London itself.

One is definitely happy right now.

Time to go straighten my hair and go for a walk.  Regent Street is closed to traffic so I'm going to take a wander down there - I might get myself a glitter moustache, there is apparently a Brazilian samba going on, and a steel band, then onto my roast dinner haunt in Farringdon which is allegedly a Time Out Top 5 roast.  Will it make my top 5?