Hero of the Hour

Starting to settle into the UK now. Feel like I made the right decision to come over. Things are good. Lot of my initial worries relieved. Having lived with the woman for 3 weeks, it’s been great. Relatively painless. I am glad we kept it together this long. It only took 8 years to move in together.

Projects are all successfully in  – the Ruby on Rails project is a pass, which is great. Had to put it back from the Monday last week to the Friday, as I started my new job last week. I was also hoping to get internet in the house, and not have to present in a YMCA reception. But in the end, I was able to demo it. Got asked some tough questions on it, but all the time I spent re-learning and debugging helped me answer these. Nevertheless, it’s basic. I do want to go back and develop more stuff, because I don’t want to be stuck doing helpdesk crap for 2+ years. You can see it here:

https://warm-peak-5259.herokuapp.com/

Don’t think Ruby or Rails are bad languages or frameworks, just that Rails is hard to work with. It’s undoubtedly quick and powerful if you follow the cookbook. The server-side development project at least ties in with the web development I’m doing for the new workplace. At the moment, it’s just HTML, CSS and javascript. But good that they want to train me in it. Starting new elements of their website this coming Monday.

The Android project for my final dissertation ended up being basic, but at least I had tested it with accountants and gotten their feedback. And the features all worked. But presenting it over Skype in that same YMCA was pretty shit. I hated being seperated from my development environment, and getting everything set up and configured was a real pain. This was particularly hard on slow, weak unsecured wifi, on a 5 year old laptop. Ended up having to hack together a solution to get the Android emulator working on the dated iGPU – this has fucked the video a bit, but it’s fine. It’s over now.

Results for that will be coming in September, I think. Maybe October. If I end up being failed on the Android project, I don’t think I will be able to pass by compensation, and I have to repeat it next year. Which would suck. But to be honest, so much has changed in these last 12 months, I may not be in a position to do this.

Got some major props from the woman for being able to keep it together during this study, new job, moving and support her. That’s good.

She got me a book of Eastern European recipes that has produced real winnners.

Job is OK – 2 days a week web development. 3 days in a architects studio supporting 100 users. Fucked a switch and cabling at 5 pm Friday when I was due to leave for woman’s birthday. Stayed until 6.20 fixing it. Probably be fine.

Critical Path

Over here since Saturday now. Bath is very nice.

Lot of stuff to get set up in the first week of emigrating to another country – bank accounts, utilities, phones and internet. Along with registering with the National Health Service and the tax/benefits authorities. All these activities are interdependent, but some are more vital than others. Some can be done in paralell.

The length of time of time to complete all of these essential elements is the “critical path” – less essential items can be delayed without affecting the essential elements.  We have a week to get as much as we can organised.

At the same time, I have to present two final projects remotely. One is the Server Side project I’ve been struggling with, and the other is the final dissertation. The Server Side project was a simple shopping cart I made in Ruby on Rails, but the lecturer was dissatisfied with it and said he wouldn’t pass me. He gave me another 4 days to rework it and present next Monday. So that’s a pain, but it’s better than having to wait a whole year to repeat it.

The dissertation project is a simple financial analysis tool with a calculator made in Android studio. A lot of it hinges on the presentation and how I can spin it. It’s very basic. I hope to pass, at least. The project is 10 credits, while the Server Side module is 5. I’ve passed everything else this year, and plan to get out with a Honours grade. I can compensate for 5 credits failed. At this stage, I need to get moving on life in the UK, and can’t devote more resources after next Monday.

I think I decided about March this year, once I had gotten a job, that the course was not worth keeping up. Didn’t feel like it was getting me employable skills. I realise now that I was still recovering from the breakdown I had getting out of Big 4. It took about 6 months to be pain free and feel normal again.  I guess it was ambitious to be working full time post March and trying to attend college in the evenings and weekends – this was exactly what fucked me up in Big 4. But it’s nearly done now.

The project management techniques I learned in Big 4 were great for making reports and charts, but as we’ve discovered as lifters and mopers, you can’t plot a 5lb gain on a lift forever. Real life has a habit of getting in the way. And you can’t ignore fundamentals. Guess I’m just not as smart, organised or able as I thought I was at 21. Glad I’m making that realisation at 25 and not at 45.

The Georgian building we are in has a large overgrown garden. Before I went, got a gift of a Mora knife and a Swedish axe from some friends. I am in the process of clearing out the garden, which will probably take a few weeks.We share the garden with 2 other apartments – obviously they had no interest or ability to clear it. The garden has a small amount of trash dumped in it, and some glass bottle and beer tins. If I clear it out, will it just become a nuisance for us? I can’t be around to police it all the time. So I am thinking just a cut back and a minimal clear – no scultping, and enough to make people uncomfortable. Would like to be growing herbs and vegetables next spring, but soil and light likely unsuitable. We’ll have to see. Have cleared a small space to dry clothes, at the very least.

The 200 year old building has an extensive basement and cellars. Never lived somewhere with a basement before, so this is very exciting. Might see if I can check the temperatures for some brewing. It’s dank, as expected of an unoccupied 200 year old basement so probably have to clean it out before using it.

If it doesn’t go well, and I fail the college year, I guess it’s just a setback I have to deal with. There are other things on the table that I have to focus on.

Heatsink for the soul

Went over to the UK Tuesday for an interview. Got offered the job that evening. That’s a load off my mind. At least I have something going over.

It’s for an IT Support engineer job. Seems I’ll be out on client sites for most of it, occasionally coming back to the office. They see me doing some development work down the line. Which is nice to have.  They want a lot of documentation for the job, more than any other previous job. The interview was very thorough on technical experience, and I was glad I studied up on everything I’ve been doing in terms of networking, servers, computer architecture and web design. They also asked me several illegal and potentially discriminatory questions like “Are you Catholic or Protestant”, “What age are you?” “Are you married?” “Do you intend to start a family?”. That left a bad taste in my mouth leaving interview and has put me on guard since. My experience is still basic. Likely they want me on helpdesk and support for a few years.

They offered me £18k, but I countered with £20k. At today’s exchange rate, that’s more than my current salary of €28.5k. They accepted this and I began getting referencing together.

One worry I have is Bath is markedly more expensive than Dublin running on these figures: http://www.numbeo.com/cost-of-living/compare_cities.jsp?country1=Ireland&city1=Dublin&country2=United+Kingdom&city2=Bath&displayCurrency=GBP

But that doesn’t reflect the money the woman and I spent commuting from Dublin to Belfast every weekend, so there’s a good chunk of money saved. It’s hard to say how much more expensive Bath will actually be.

Apartment we’ll be staying in is a listed building 200+ years old. Views are very nice, and place central in Bath. But only single glazed. Will likely have to do some DIY insulation on it, like shrink wrapping windows, and filling cracks.

After the stress of trying to get a new job, while trying to organizing emigrating, and getting a new place to live, feeling depressed. Libido down.  Diet has been 4 snickers bars for lunch and 4 vodkas for dinner at least four times this fortnight.   Warning signs. Realizing that I probably had a nervous breakdown about March last year. Was getting panic attacks when trying to sleep about three weeks ago, but able to box it off until I had a job and home secured. Falling asleep with bronze cross in my hands praying for strength helped – got that cross at 7 year old. Struck by how small it feels in an adult’s hands. Maybe worth getting a larger one for progressive overload now that I am grown. Like a heatsink for the soul. Cracking up a little now that these trials are over. Writing has stopped. Feeling lost on the characters and themes. Probably best to keep journal and talk about it.

Still have to find the energy to finish the dissertation and the Server Side project. Consequences would be fairly dire to not complete the course, as getting the job is dependent on passing the course. Got 11 days – it’s possible.

Going to try keep it ticking over, but worst case scenario I have to repeat in August/Sept. Medium case scenario I turn in any old crap and I scrape a pass. That’s all I want. Don’t like working with Android studio and don’t like Ruby on Rails.

They died natty

A dude died last month from DNP and the story was in the news today.

Somehow, this got linked to my college classmate – who had died by other means. The story was run with his photo and details. The newspapers had gotten their sources wrong, and the police had leaked details of both separately. The tabloid in question put these together, and the story was circulated in the media. Luckily, our classmates were lawyers, and got the story taken down as quickly as possible. Feel bad for his family and close friends though.

Unlikely he chose DNP as a means to end his life.

_

Had first two interviews this week over Skype – both were a stretch for me. One was a data centre engineer in a university, and the other was second line support in a large company. Struck out with both. Don’t really have any qualifications. Think this was a big reason, even if I interview well.

By contrast, an IT guy in company we support has several dozen certs, is in his 40s, but was unable to run OS X’s task manager and shut down a program with a memory leak. He’s making 75k, and called one of our dudes on site to do it. I think no one takes you seriously until you’re 35. Probably just stall until then. Turned 25 last week. Feel burnt out. Hope the change of scenery remedies this temporarily.

DSL was down for 2 days. Up today after threat to switch provider.

Ex-gfs are all getting married and knocked up. Almost all work in retail – probably dodged many bullets. But thought I’d have impregnated by now. Gotta give it time. Moving in is the first step.

Novel is up to 25k words. Maybe 500 words a day.

Not lifting jack shit apart from rehab. Pain free. Trying to see as many friends as I can before leaving. Boozing has tripled as a result. Had some very good times.

Getting about 100 miles a week on the bike. Cadence is getting better. More flexible. Better position. More endurance and power output.

Have a place secured to live in Bath. No job yet. Just gotta trust it will come together.