Real Amine Training

p9dMBq_large

Found the end of that creatine tub in a lunchbox today. It expired 4 years ago. Also found this picture I made years ago. Slurping down those natty Homura juices.

Advertisements

Gear Queer

Bought an entry-level roadbike off a guy who rode it 50km and gave up. The 2013 Trek Alpha 1.2. 9 speed. 2 rings.  Just €500. No major issues with it yet, apart from no fenders. Getting fenders that clear the wheels might be hard.  They are a necessity in Ireland, where it rains about 151 days of the year on the East coast. Should save some time having to wipe down the frame, and keep the headset cleaner. Don’t really care about getting filthy because I change out of cycling gear. Wet ass unpleasant though.

Front derailleur rubs in higher gears, but only some of the time. Doesn’t seem to rub when you start in a low gear on the small ring, then switch to the larger ring, then shift up gears. Probably fix it this weekend. Definitely needed cycling shorts for a road bike. thankfully Lidl had them for €10. Got two, plus a jersey and undershirt.

All this makes a big difference from the 15kg hybrid with fat wheels.

It means I can do the 9km in about 20 mins, and the hills and headwind don’t bother me as much. It’s also fucking fun: the road bike does at a moderate effort what the hybrid does at all out sprint on the flat. Which means I don’t get pissed off getting into work, and I get some time in the morning to chill out. Getting more core and glute activation in there is always good too. The spandex shit means I can stay cool on the way in and home, so I’m not in a mad sweat. Not wearing underwear under the shorts means no sweaty crack or spicy taint.

Do miss the disc brakes on the hybrid somewhat. The stock brakes are unbranded, and need a good squeeze coming down hills.

Entering a velo prison cell tho. At least it’s fun now.

The sys admin job is fine. First time working in an office with all men. Greatly prefer it to big 4, for a lot of reasons. Material for a new post.

Financial Lifecycle

indivi1

Finance

Got a lot of good news recently. Girlfriend’s contract was extended another year. I start the system administration job next week. Renewed my driving license, so I can finally try qualify.  Plan is going to be work and study until June/July, get my driving licence, and move up to Belfast in the North of Ireland. We finally get to live together permanently after almost 8 years.

I’ve figured it’s not worth scrimping and saving every penny “for the future”, when interest rates on savings are so low here. Even my €10k is making just 0.5% or 0.25% per anum. It was worth spending money on my business to get a better return. It was worth forgoing work to study to increase my future earnings. It was worth paying for health insurance.  So my happiness is less tied to “having €10k” now, and is more considered about adequate cash flow. That feels like a positive step.

Some of the money is going on driving lessons. That will work out about €300. I don’t have a car, either. I may get one up North. It’s supposed to be cheaper. We’ve managed without a car so far, as we’ve always lived in the city. But Belfast has less public transport, and is even less bike friendly.  Plus my insurance will be a lot less when I am 25 in June. It would be great to see the West of Ireland too, which you can only really do by car, bike or horse/foot. So all that is good.

This has forwarded our financial plans a fair bit, and made both of us a lot more optimistic about the future. Belfast is starting its own tech, finance and property boom. The solicitors and accountants have said that many companies are setting up to take advantage of the low wages of the underdeveloped North of Ireland, and of the more favorable UK tax schemes. Ireland got a slap on the wrist for its role in tax avoidance for Apple and the like (the old double Irish), so attention is shifting to the Occupied Counties in the North.

We can see the growth when I go up to Belfast – lots of construction going on. Lots of fancy restaurants opening up to cater for office workers with disposable income. Less visible sectarianism. The old tenements are being demolished, and the terraced houses with graffiti and flags flying over them are being redeveloped.

We are both getting to a stage where our debts are getting paid off, and we have a little money to invest. I am strongly thinking about buying an apartment in Belfast – there are a lot that were foreclosed and are still for sale. It would save us money on rent, especially when the interest rates on mortgages are so low. Then we can rent or sell the apartment if we decide to leave the country. Getting a mortgage might be difficult, but if financial policy gets loosened with ECB, loans may be easier to get. Besides, it is not worth saving money to accrue interest at the moment. I think it would be better invested in assets and cash. I even think we are late to it: the best time to move was last year. So that’s all happening, god willing.

Career-wise, we both got what we were looking for in college: mobility, and white-collar work that is hard to outsource. Big 4 was too much suffering, so network/software engineering seems better. I’m sure there will be more setbacks, and I’m sure it won’t be easy. But it seems the trend is upwards.

Have not read Black Swan yet: I’m sure it will change my mind.

Cycle

The bike I have is pretty wrecked after winter. Needs some tenderness this week. The roads were heavily salted, and the bike was already a bit rough going into Winter. Got a new chain and rear cassette for it. Need to get the front derailleur cable replaced too. Going to try do those things myself and save €50. Just a matter of getting a chain wrench and a cassette removal tool in a workshop that hires out space for €5.

I’m very tempted to get a new bike, as I will be cycling 15-30km daily, and the hybrid I have is too heavy for any distance. Wheels are too wide.  Does great utility cycling with bags and crates, and is good on the slush and rain. But it was a hybrid I got second-hand for €150. It’s coming up to the end of its lifespan, and without more investment, it will be trash. I don’t think it’s worth putting much money into.

Thinner wheels and slick tyres would make a difference – but combined, these would be more than I bought it for.  The disc brakes were great in Ireland, and the aluminum frame was OK on our bad roads. I stuck a riser on the stem because the flat handlebars were too low to be comfortable for my neck. It’s an OK frame, it’s too small for me. It was left outdoors while I was work or out and about, and it’s still servicable.  I may put it onto utility/beater duty.

I have my eye on this:http://www.wiggle.co.uk/eastway-fb40-2014/. I have never owned a new bike before. And this covers most of what I want, at a good price.

So I may get n+1 bikes. It would let me have a better commuting bike, and another in reserve if it is out of action. Don’t know if I should pull the trigger on it yet. But given that I cycle about 6-7 hours a week, I get good value out of bikes. Might make commuting less of a pain.

Life

Also have an idea for a mobile application to develop for college: it’s a Rosary that uploads your prayers to a world map. It will have a heatmap function, so you can see which countries are praying the Rosary. It’s a little inspired by Celiaxx’s post: sometimes this shit gets lonely. It would be great to see who else is out there, keeping the fire burning. Should be reasonably simple to develop for Android.

Cumming out of retirement

I am going down the engineering path in the end. Applied for a system administration/network engineering job this Monday after a week of research, got an interview for Thursday, and got an offer that afternoon. Job starts 10 days later.

I knew there was big demand, but didn’t think they needed to hire people that badly. The salary is 30% higher than in big 4, has more generous benefits and expenses, and also pays overtime. It’s a small company that has the best-in-field engineers on our small island. So hopefully I will be learning a lot from them. I’ve always liked interviews, and prepared well for this one. I felt genuinely excited going in, and was immediately enthused to see servers being junked on the doorstep. The staff were mostly young, with bikes behind their desks. They all looked pretty swole. I noted with pleasure that they said I’d be a good fit with the rest of the staff. I can’t wait to have a possible threeway TCP handshake jerkoff with ripped nerds.

The job required driving out to client site. I can’t drive yet.  I need to pass 12 government lessons, followed by a driving test, to get my full license. I said that wouldn’t be a deal breaker, as I cycled about 150km a week, and most of their clients were close to my home. Easily within cycling distance. As they mostly work on the software side, the boss said he took his motorbike to clients.  I thought not being fully licensed might be a dealbreaker, but phrased it in a way that emphasized my willingness to learn and youthful energy. Strangely, they said this suited them, as it would give me a few months to train up in their VOIP Telephony and virtualization team.

I then met with one of Ireland’s big names in VOIP telephony, who said I’d be working under him. Really great talking to them.

My only concern is finishing the course, gaining some experience, and not getting raped with overtime. Been “retired” for 5 months. Last year, between sick leave, unemployment and study leave, I really only worked 6 months in 2014. I like these “mini retirements”. I think I would like to have these “mini retirements” throughout my life.

Since the last post, I also joined a “hackerspace” where sysadmins, engineers and software developers rented a warehouse and build/hack/make shit. Learned to stickweld. Planned a few electronics projects. Picked up some tips for sysadmin work. It was really fun. They had built a pizza oven. The pizza was great.

Gundam models have not arrived. Pushing 6 weeks now. The staff said it could be up to 3 months.

Ordered some east German NBC-protection suits for a S.T.A.L.K.E.R. cosplay. I really like the S.T.A.L.K.E.R games, but had seen the Tarkovsky Stalker film before I’d ever played them. I only read the novella “Roadside Picnic” on which both were based on last year. I had unknowingly written something like Roadside Picnic or Stalker when I was researching the Exclusion Zone in Ukraine back in ’05. So the films, games and novella are very close to my heart. I sometimes dream I am a stalker either in the Zone, or waiting to go back. I’ve woken in a cold sweat, praying I don’t have to return to the Zone. So dressing up with a friend and drinking vodka/eating diet sausage at an anime convention may be a way to stop the weird dreams.