The Day Today

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Mr. Pat Scullion, I salute you. Thanks for the CDs - they've saved me from feeling like I was losing myself in a timewarped world where I live at home and am always on the brink of doing something exciting but never actually do...amazing how some new music changes your outlook.

Stuff
Listening: to Frou Frou: The Details
Reading: Nothing. Finished 'Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire' about twenty minutes ago. All 624 pages of it. A great length for any 'children's' book, I've always said so. Not trying to say anything about Marketing. No.
Playing: Sid Meier's 'Alpha Centauri'. The unemployment inferiority complex has lead me to play a few megalomaniac-type games.
Waiting: for the weekend. Alice is coming.
Hoping: for some kind of epiphany.
Wishing: I could put how I'm feeling down in some more articulate way, other than saying 'I feel a bit pants, but I'm okay really'.


I'm okay, you're okay. Everybody's okay.
Chill.

More on The Job Front

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The Isle of Wight County Press got back to me today and very politely informed me that I was not required for interview.

Announcement
I am feeling crappy, probably because I've spent most of the morning typing up stuff. After a couple of hours, I'd only typed a few thousand words and felt as though the inside of my head and eyeballs were covered in fuzzy felt. I hate typing up stuff that I don't want to tamper with. All the fun goes out of it and I get bored very quickly.

After I've printed this batch of 'Our Discontent' I'm going out for a walk to clear my head, which needs the cobwebs blown out of it, and also sterilizing, rinsing liberally and finally throwing away and replacing.

In other words, muh.

(That Your Chequebook Be Not Closer To Hand)

I have 50 white A4 envelopes.
I have 50 brown A5 envelopes (for returns).
I have stamps.
I have a story.
I have the entire afternoon to bring these ingredients together in a beautiful melánge, to blend and polish, to create and spin my little beauties off into the world.

I've done two, and now I'm bored. I see, finally, why printing speed is such an important spec when choosing a printer...

Have Just Got Back From...

I have returned from Alice's, after a great weekend, prolonged by a night by the winds. I got up at 0530 with her and the rest of her family to get a lift to Winchester station, from where she and her Dad commute to London daily.

OH MY GOD I'M TIRED!

How the hell do people do that, for a week let alone twenty years? I'm very, very impressed. I know there's so much of it that can be made easier by going to bed earlier, getting into a rhythm, routine, acceptance and a quality, non-ticking alarm clock, but still.
I am in awe.

Stuff I'm up to

Reading Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. I know. I read the first two books on Friday. I avoided reading them for this long out of a streak of Pratchett-loyalty, and also the well-founded fear that I would become a Pottergeek.
***(Just made that word up - if it gets into the New Year Edition Dictionaries, I want a mention)***
Love them or hate them, the books are astoundingly well written, reinforcing my belief that the difference between a great writer and even a good writer is something that it's impossible to teach. You could give a similar 'magic-school' scene to JK Rowling and say, Jill Murphy (the successful to a 'pre-Potter' degree author of The Worst Witch) and, I don't think anyone will disagree, both would know which bits to write down to convey the scene well, and Rowling would do it in a way that would, grammatically and taken down to nuts and bolts English seem only slightly different to Murphy. Read them, however, and not only will Rowling have included the details that paint the scene for you, but she's missed out exactly all the bits you need to get the scene, too. The gaps are exactly the right size and shape for your imagination, if you get my drift.

I'll stop now.

Also read: Georges Simenon: Maigret Sets A Trap (top-flight Fench detective fiction), The first two Potter books...

Listening To:The Message: The Roots of Rap (various)

See y'around, kids...

The Results Are In

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CHB CHB CHB CHB CHBBA CHBBA CHBBA CHBBABBA CHBBABBABBA CHBBAAAAAAAAAA!

I didn't get it.

I thanna yow.

...and bizarrely, neither did anyone else.

The future lies wide open.
Offers accepted.

I have attained a Zen calm. A state of mind which is no mind.

This could be because I'm following in Dave's footsteps and cutting down on the old café, or, the explanation I prefer, the reaction of a superior intellect to a time of potential stress.
*ahem*
It's just that I really, really want this job. It would be great, and I think I'd be good at it.

Went fishing again yesterday, just to calm Keith down a bit as he was chomping at the bit a touch because I was still none the wiser about the job. I, of course, was fine. Keith doubled his catch of 1 from the other day, catching an astonishing two fish in the first half hour that we were there. I caught 9 over the day, including the biggest fish I've ever caught. Skip to the next bold heading if not at all interested.

There are three lakes where we go to fish, arranged on terraces down a slope which is the bottom of a valley. Yesterday was bright but cold, and the wind was blowing a hooligan right up the valley.

The top lake is a mixture of sizes and species of fish, and that's where Keith and I go normally. The middle lake is generally newer stock, so although you catch more there, they're generally small enough to be lifted out of the water on the end of the line without needing a net. The bottom lake has weeds around the edge in lots of places, is the deepest, least fished, and least stocked. The fish are the biggest, but also the oldest and subsequently the most caught - they're pretty wise to what's going on. At least, that's how it was when I went at the age of thirteen.

After catching three in the top lake, and all of a sudden it turning really, really cold, I thought that it wouldn't do any harm going and sitting on the bottom lake for a while. Standing right at the lowest point of the fishery, I had the wind behind me, so I cast right out into the middle of the pond - where the biggies are meant to be - with no trouble at all.

I was standing there for about an hour, and started feeling really stupid. I hadn't seen anyone fish the bottom lake all summer, and didn't even know if there were any fish in there. It was difficult to know if the fish were off their food, or off on their holidays. Nothing. Normally you can see fishsign - trails on the surface of the water, a little skipper of a fish jumping somewhere, but there was nothing. It was as boring as you can imagine standing next to some water holding a stick could be.

Then my float started moving downwards very slowly. Normally fish have a couple of nibbles, which cause the float to bob quickly, and then bugger off with the bait entirely, which drags the float under completely in a jerk. My float continued to drop slowly, almost imperceptibly, towards the surface of the water, taking about a minute to drop five centimetres. I pulled the line, and nothing. No bait, either. This crafty 'Artful Dodger' style nicking of my bait went on for the best part of half an hour, me feeling like some kind of public service fishfeeding wallah. Eventually I just left it as the float sank, then, when I hadn't seen anything of it for about ten minutes, the line zipped off the reel and the line left a trail in the water to the other side of the lake. It flew to the other side of the lake, then made a beeline straight for me, all the time staying deep, and moving fast. I was struggling.

If you've ever had the misfortune to be wound up by an uncle or other mischievous person when on an aeroplane at an early age, you'll know the fear that comes from looking out of the window and seeing the wings bouncing around in a none-too-inspiring manner. the uncle would have said that they were about to fall off, or that they shouldn't flap like that. They're meant to, and even the most gullible child will realise that after three of the four hours trip to Mallorca, the wings aren't going to drop off anymore. Materials are great. They can do the most amazing things, even if they look like they're not meant to. Flapping wings is one. Bending fishing rods is another.

With the amount of weight this fish was putting on the line, and the amount of effort I was putting in not to join him in the lake, you'd expect the rod to bend. I made the mistake of looking up at it during the fight. The rod was bent round over 180 in about two foot of it's length. Normal things shouldn't do that. I thought it was going to snap any second and started shouting at Keith to get his arse over to me with the landing net.

The first thing I saw of the fish was it's mouth, gaping upwards with yellowing lips and barbels sticking out below, as long as my index finger. Then, in a 'Free Willy' stylee, it flipped over and the full length of the fish broke the surface in a smooth arc. It took some time.

It took five minutes to land the fish, despite it trying to get me tangled in the weeds, get me bored/tired/in the lake by running the length of the lake, and eventually giving up. It weighed in at just over seven and a half pounds, and had the biggest beer belly I've ever seen on a fish.

This is a bloody long-winded story, but I've been after catching a really big fish at those ponds since I was about twelve. It made me happy.

Today
I had a couple of reasonable story ideas yesterday, so I might draft out one.
Take care y'all.

Thanks for the supportive comments, Adam and krew, and I'm sure I'll find out soon enough about the job. I really want to know what's going on.

Unfortunately, a reasonable streak I've wrestled with for years has made me feel it might be unfair to call them up at nine o'clock in the morning and demand a comprehensive breakdown of the string of circumstances that lead to them not letting me know about the job WHEN THEY SAID THEY WOULD, so I thought it best to leave it a bit. 'Til midday, say.

The Things

-Music Super Furry Animals: Rings Around The World. Behold my staggering up-to-dateness.

-Book(s) Isaac Asimov: Prelude to Foundation (explained-at-length prequel, meant to be as good as sci-fi writing gets). Just finished - Robert Rankin: Apocalypso (fun with a vegetable-based alien in Brighton), Alexander Solzhenitsyn: Cancer Ward (very, very, very grim indeed Soviet hospital stuff; brilliant, but grim.)

-Video Not a lot.

-Th'internet, as you young'uns do call it Scudding around between hotmail, blogger and virginstudent, not doing much, not staying online very long. Sorry.

The Tribal Dance (come on, come on)

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No news, as of almost 5pm Tuesday.

Now I don't know too much about the working hours of those that work in media, but I'm guessing even if they're not a rigid 9 to 5, then we are nearing temporal territory where the Tribal Clan may not be around.
I'm in two minds on whether to call or not.

...and yes, the title is from a 2Unlimited song, um, er, I mean 'track'.

Ra ra, ra-tee-ra

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I am, to use the vernacular, a bit knacked. I went fishing this afternoon after signing on, and it was bloody cold, intermittently rainy, and there was a small child who wanted me to be his friend while he waited for his (probably non-existent) mates to turn up. Other than that I had a great afternoon, netting about 15 fish, two of which were longer than the landing net was wide at it's widest point, and were only landed through some seriously nifty networking (sorry) by Keith.

I lost count because I didn't want to have a definite figure at the end of the day, because until ten minutes before we left, Keith hadn't caught a thing, and well, I didn't want to piss him off. We all have days when things like that happen, and I didn't want to rub it in or make it worse, because, aside from what I actually believe, karma kind of makes sense.

Going Slowly Tribal
Well, they said they'd let me know if I'd got the job either today or tomorrow, and there're no emails from them anywhere.
Tomorrow then.

A Local Paper, For Local People
As a kind of back up plan, which may turn out to be better than the original, I applied to the Isle of Wight County Press to be a Trainee Journalist today. The ad was in, surprise surprise, the County Press on Friday, so I thought, why not? I'll give it a go. Maybe the less I'm qualified for a job, the easier it will be to get. (See: Degree, Engineering, also: Sod, Law of)

Dave's Furry Hamster
After linking to my blog from an actual webpage and everything, my good friend and buddy Dave 'greenhamster' George suggested I put comment spots on my blogspot. I smiled politely at my monitor as he typed away, saying I could paste the appropriate code into the HTML of my page template and all would be well. I bodged it up a few times, as you'd imagine, and in the end he did it for me.
If there are any attractive single women in the Southampton area reading this, I urge you to have sexual intercourse with this man.
For he is good.*
His phone number is available on request. Make a comment - go on!

...and in other news
I recieved a story back in a rejection stylee from a certain magazine today, and it was the one with profanity in that was sent to the wrong address. So that's not really a rejection, then. Well, I know it is, but I'm pretending. That way it's easier to keep sending stories off to them and other places. Either way, it's not much of a blow seeing as I've only really just started, and I know almost for certain that there's a whole monkeyload of rejection still to come.
I can cope.

* In life. In bed, I have no idea, but I have a few phone numbers to find out for you if you're interested...

Meteorological Update

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The storm missed, so I missed a perfectly good opportunity to blog yesterday.
There has been some weather here. You've probably had some too.

Everything Else
-Tribal DDB Task That Followed The Interview: Completed. They'll let me know on Monday or Tuesday. Why not go Tribal?.
-Writing:No news from eminent publishing houses concerning short stories for their awe-inspiring periodicals. I'l give them a few weeks and phone to politely enquire as to the status of their perusal. I have a few pieces underway, none of which I intend to take to market.
-Alice The Wondrous: Guess! She's cool, as ever, and has just completed her first couple of weeks working for the Royal Bank of Scotland. Last week she was being put up in an enormously luxurious hotel in Edinburgh for training, this week she was flown to Edinburgh for the day, and also had time to attend a conference in Brighton, as well as completing three days' work in London. All commuting from Winchester.

Respec'.

-Things I'm Doing Other Than Work, Write and Play:

-Music: Bjork, Vespertine (I know! It was in the library, I was curious, so I rented it. No other reason)

-Book(s): Just finished Howard Marks: 'Mr. Nice', just started Robert Rankin: 'the hollow chocolate bunnies of the apocalypse', delving in and out of as and when: Jerome K. Jerome: Three Men in a Boat, Iain Banks: Complicity, and Ernest Hemingway: True at First Light. I'm unemployed. I like reading. You have problem, huh?

-Video: Thanks to the generous people at my local library, I have literally DOUBLED the size of my video collection. They had a boxful of old ex-rental videos, all at £1.25 each! So, after delving considerably, making tough decisions concerning how much I could carry, how far it was to get home, whether I'd make it in the cold, and the likelihood of being accosted by the Isle of Wight's criminal element* on the way back, I bought one.
It's called 'Pushing Tin'. I'm going to go and watch it in a minute.
My other video is 'Grosse Point Blank'. It's quite good.
You'd like it.

Take care now.

* - none, because I saw him on the bus to Newport from the windows of the library

Further Update

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The task be done, so it be.
Arrrrr.

Apart from writing, that's the first proper work (writing IS 'proper work', but I enjoy it so much it is more 'proper fun') I've done for ages!
It was alright, yes, thank you.

I intended to write lots but I'm coming offline in a hurry as there appears to be an electrical storm charging our way.
Ouch.

Update

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I'm ok, but busy doing a task for the wonderful, wonderful people at Tribal DDB, which, all being well should be in their inboxes by this afternoon/evening.
I'm feeling hopeful!

Love to you all, even the smelliest of you.
;-)

The Plot Developments

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Well, after yesterday’s little treatise on how life appears to be a touch dramatic, these are today’s developments as of just gone 10am:

Post on this birthday morning included:

-‘Guidelines on Writing Fiction’ – a leaflet from a previously submitted story to a certain magazine, more or less a ‘not suitable, but thank you anyway, here, this is what we want’. After perusing this piece of warmly encouraging literature, thinking to myself, yes, the story I sent off yesterday meets all of these requirements – sweeeet, I noticed that I had sent it to the wrong address out of the two in the ‘Writers’ and Artists’ Yearbook’. I write as I re-print.

-A rejection letter from Manning Gottlieb OMD, more or less denying the fact that they emailed me to say they’d try and fit me into their interview schedule, and saying that I wasn’t suitable to continue in the application process. They obviously missed the third box on my CV, which said ‘Date of Birth – 10th of October’ either that or they thought it would be funny.

-A ‘Crew Clothing’ catalogue. The people at Crew Clothing had little or nothing to say, other than ‘Buy our clothes- they’re great!’ I probably won’t.

Other than this, the birthday so far has involved a huge number of presents from my parents and Alice, including an interview tie and a blank page journal from the folks, and some wonderful wine glasses and tumblers (who grew up thinking they were going to get this kind of stuff on their birthday, ever? It’s a surprise, and an even bigger one that I’m chuffed to receive them) that are very funky, a wine bottle sealing thingy for when there’s wine left in the bottle and you want to keep it (Alice obviously doesn’t know me that well :-)), and some ‘Severed Fingers’ Halloween chocolate things.

In a bit I’ll get dressed, after I’ve re-written the covering letter for this story!

Moral of the Story Is:
Erm, not sure entirely. There’s been no major ethical or moral issue so far, so nothing to report, I’m afraid.

The Wonder Years

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I feel odd, as though someone is writing the script to my life from a semi-detached house in Berkshire.

Some things, and their 'daily episode' structure:

Alice and I are going to move in together as soon as we can (end drum roll) this was decided, oh, Sunday morning.

Yesterday I wrote an entire story in one day, unheard of for me, edited it this morning and sent it off to a *ahem* magazine that I'm reasonably, probably, semi-confident of publication in.

Tomorrow is my 23rd birthday.

I have an interview in London on Friday, the day after.

Now the feeling I have is that all of this appears to have been arranged for maximum dramatic effect, as though to keep the viewers glued to their screens. I'm not suggesting a 'Truman Show' setup, just that I think my life is a bit...dramatic at the moment. It's an odd feeling.

Erm
I appear to have covered just about everything in a few lines, leaving very little else to say.
HELLO THERE!
HOW ARE YOU?
NICE WEATHER WE'RE HAVING ISN'T IT?

There we go.

I'm Back...

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...and I'm glad to be.

The sales job was dodgy in the extreme.
Explanation done with, methinks.

I have another interview with a company in the OMD group, Tribal DDB on Friday, for a similar job - media planning and buying.

Alice is here <--- Reason for this being the end of today's blog

bye

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