Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Double Serving

Jack BlackCover of Jack Black
I'm sure that you're familiar with Orange Wednesdays, the latest spoof trailer features Jack Black for the upcoming Gulliver’s Travels movie which is scheduled for release this Christmas. Orange believe that films are better with friends, every Wednesday the promotion offers 2-for-1 cinema tickets and 2-for-1 pizza at PizzaExpress. What more could a student want? It's worthwhile, I recently watched The Town at the same cinema with my partner and we paid over the odds for tickets. That was a heist movie about a long time thief attempting to go straight, the premise of Takers was similar but focused more on the group and the detective! Both equally enjoyable and played out in different circumstances and surroundings. Eating at PizzaExpress was well received, our group of cheapskates opportunists definitely made the most of the promotion! It was relieving to participate in the group as it has been a difficult few days, it's tough adjusting to a new environment and with added pressures and being away from familiarity it's going to take a while to adjust to everything! We will get there in the end, we're just giving everyone else a head start!!!
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Monday, September 27, 2010

Are You Watching Closely?

The Prestige (film)Image via Wikipedia
I was advised by a friend before I started studies to consider participation in many of the additional social and recreational activities. He suggested being involved in as many of the societies as conceivably possible to enhance the whole university experience! Although I didn't attend Fresher's Fair and I missed the sports programme induction, I have still completed applications for many of the societies through the Student Union website. I expressed an interest in being involved with the Film Society, they gathered at the Electric Press tonight and our group were invited to attend the first screening of the academic year. They were enthusiastic, excitable and eager to meet new members and get the proceedings started! The first showing was 'The Prestige' starring Hugh Jackman and Christian Bale, directed by Christopher Nolan. It follows two magicians whose friendship collapses into deadly rivalry. "Now you're looking...for the secret. But you won't find it because of course, you're not really looking. You don't really want to work it out. You want to be fooled." I really enjoyed the movie, the rivalry between the two main characters was unsympathetic and the conclusion was inevitable. I would recommend this movie based on their conflict! Afterwards the temptation of alcohol beckoned, we considered a bar with the Film Society but instead preferred a quiet finale at the nearby Whetherspoon. I'm impressed with the Film Society, the screenings provide an alternative in the week and I expect that there will be many sessions throughout the duration of the term!
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Sunday, September 26, 2010

DJ Got Us Falling In Love Again

GrimmyImage by joedawson via FlickrPropaganda is Europe's biggest Indie night, with over 15,000 people attending the legendary Indie club phenomenon across the country every week. Propaganda presents two rooms of music every Saturday at the o2 Academy, Leeds. Since arriving in the city, I have been eager to experience the alternative scene and this was easily the best night so far. The resident DJ's provoked reaction, gestured to the crowds and created a great atmosphere. Nick Grimshaw was the guest DJ, he played favourites but disappeared for long periods and wasn't actively involved with the audience. We retired before the end, enthusiastic for the next event, Matt Horne will be making a guest appearance. Should be good! Although I'm settling into university, I am struggling to differentiate between night and day, irregular sleeping hours doesn't help. Attending lectures and seminars is stimulating, I have also become a bookworm, actively frequenting the library at every opportunity, although I still haven't mastered the printer. The library also provides DVD/Video hire, with the best part being that it's for freeee! Does anyone even still own a video player?
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Friday, September 24, 2010

Cheese And Macaroni

Juno in Juno *--*Image by YamiPaperDreams!.- via FlickrThis past week has been an incident filled one; starting higher education has been interesting, mainly because I haven't studied since the mid 90's, I'm possibly the oldest person on the course and I have felt at a disadvantage to students who have just finished A Levels. I have waited behind to ask questions in several lectures and seminars, and been reassured that everything will piece together. There appears to be plenty of theory and reading associated with my degree, the library will eventually become home! Although only a week into higher education, a person who lives in my apartment has already been given marching orders. This was because his course was funded by the NHS and he didn't meet their strict requirements. I wish him all the best for the future and hope that he finds the second chance that he rightfully deserves. Due to an avoidable circumstance, we've been busy chasing pavements around Leeds. I couldn't tell you how many Greggs we have encountered but I know where several places of interest are situated! I already miss friends, family and the children loads but need to secure work before I commit to travel arrangements. Lastly the sad news reached me that my cousin was killed in an accident while working as a lift engineer. It was a devastating blow and my thoughts and prayers are with everyone back home. Although there is plenty to occupy my thoughts, I'm aiming to adjust more this week and join several societies to meet new people!
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Wednesday, September 22, 2010


Red Bull GmbHImage via WikipediaRedbull gives you wings but caffeine substitutes clipped them! The night started at our accommodation, friends gathered at our Halls for pre-drinks and we participated in several drinking games. I rarely drink beer, instead preferring to consume spirits, tonight I have no idea what cocktail I created but the tabasco inclusion was regrettable! We eventually headed to Space, I was already feeling spaced-out but ventured onto the dance floor to interact with friends. After briefly walking around we decided to head towards Cockpit. I was excited because I wanted to experience an Indie night but the caffeine wasn't agreeing with my insides. McDonald's didn't help and even though our group made it to the venue - I decided to call it a night and headed home in a cab. My friends followed and although we were invited to a flat party, I retired to my room for the evening! I later received a call from my partner and we exchanged stories about our nights and decided that we would meet the following afternoon! Freshers week had provided more than we had bargained for and we're going down in an earlier round, but we are going down swinging! Stories to look back on?!
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Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Need More Room

SKREAMImage by LD PIX via FlickrFreshers' week is the first week of the academic year at a university or other tertiary institution, and a variety of events are held to help orient and welcome new students. I'm beginning to feel that freshers' week is overrated, admittedly the night life is exceptional and the clubs are packed. Mezz and Halo were at capacity yesterday, both provided great nights, especially for the promoters but personally I would like daytime activities. I suppose alcohol lowers inhibitions but activities, for example paint ball or go-karting, would encourage team building and interaction would prevail! Instead our team building exercise involved pole dancing at Halo, I'm guessing that everyone that glanced in our direction concluded that we we're freshers from our enthusiasm! The journey home was provided by an opportunist cab driver who attempted to take us on the scenic route, he will know better next time! At the accommodation I relaxed until I received a telephone call from my partner, who had been out experiencing her own night! The conversation was different and although we both acknowledged that it would take time to find ourselves in Leeds, I was concerned and couldn't sleep through the noises in my head!
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Monday, September 20, 2010

Legal High

Leeds Metropolitan UniversityImage via WikipediaI mentioned before that I was approached through Facebook to be a Voodoo Events representative, networking and providing tickets/guest list. One of the main perks provided is free entry into the Voodoo hosted nights, bypassing the queues definitely impressed friends. I need to increase my networking reach, Sugarwell Court isn't ideal for exposure but I will have no problem interacting at other Halls. We really enjoyed Oceana, although I spent the majority of the time walking as we explored the nightclub and lost each other frequently. Preston was the much touted DJ for the evening, don't give up the day job - much to learn you still have.. After walking back to my accommodation I was invited to my partners, which required walking twenty minutes back into town. I was excited to see her and when we met I could feel she shared the sentiment! I was introduced to her friends and spent the night there, an alternative to home where she usually stays at mine. I suspect this will become a regular arrangement especially as the majority of my lectures are located in close proximity to her building! We briefly ventured into Leeds today, the main focus was introductory lectures and induction. Being late for both wasn't ideal but I have a better understanding of where everything is located now! I think anyway...
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Sunday, September 19, 2010

God Is Love

leeds at nightImage by tricky ™ via FlickrThe drive wasn't generous; speed restrictions, traffic and being alone meant that I probably felt every mile that university put between me and the children. I eventually arrived in Leeds in the evening, driving passed Elland Road and towards the universities. Arriving at the Halls, I was directed to the rear of the complex where I collected everything associated with the room. The car parking fee was requested up front, I won't have that for a few weeks so instead a residential area will provide shelter for the duration. I'm still unsure whether to offload the car, especially as university already appears to be more expensive than I had originally anticipated. Entering the building that would be home for the next year was strange. I had hoped for corridors full of energy and anticipation, instead Sugarwell Court felt like a retirement home. Being alone in the accommodation, didn't add to the appeal either and I don't feel it will be easy to get settled. I'm scared, this is very real now and I'm worried about many things, mostly the children, I want to see their faces already. Through Facebook I was approached to be a representative of Voodoo Events, networking and providing tickets/guest list. I have been impressed with the start as there has already been interest, maybe this will work, but freshers week was always going to be busy. Alone I headed to Leeds Halo nightclub, Voodoo Events have a residency there every Saturday. The 1600 capacity, refurbished church is an incredible venue that has to be experienced if you visit the city. Shame that I had to enjoy the first night alone as company would have been appreciated! Reverend Run will be DJing at the club soon, I need to make sure that I'm involved in that night. God is Love!!!
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Saturday, September 18, 2010

To Boldly Go

PrideImage by joedawson via FlickrAfter originally being told that I wasn't allowed to see the children, I was able to collect them from school and spend time with them yesterday afternoon. I really enjoyed the hours that we spent together and they appeared more enthusiastic about university which was encouraging and lifted a weight off my shoulders. As the time came to handing them back to their mother I attempted to take a few photos and literally fell apart. Tears filled my eyes and I struggled to hold it together! My daughter realised straight away and I could see the colour drain from her face. As I kissed them goodbye at the door, their mother hovered in the background. She looked at me with the glare I remember so well, "You're the one doing this" she scorned but I couldn't find the words to respond. My son had also reacted now and I could see his bottom lip quivering! I can't describe how hard that was but I really felt like walking away from the university dream at that moment. They're everything to me and I'm worried that being away from them I won't be the father they deserve but then if I quit I'm not setting the right example. I hope that I will look back one day and know that I made the right decision!!! I was able to see them again this morning, the good ending this time as we hugged and I promised that I would see them soon!

To celebrate my departure to Leeds, I organised a farewell gathering in Dartford last night. Several friends and family attended, drinking was the order of play but it took a while for everything to get started. Not sure what was wrong with the barmaid at Whetherspoons as she attempted to make obscene conversation with us multiple times. We moved on and then as more participants entered the arena the night started to develop. The local nightclub beckoned and we politely responded with the admission price and started throwing shapes all over the dance floor. Eventually I ended up with a stiletto and then I made a friend with the other stiletto and we both used the prop to maximise the shapes being thrown. He took it to the next level by drinking alcohol that had been poured into the stiletto, I draw the line there! The night ended with meeting my partner at my house, we exchanged gifts, mine being food and hers being a boxed gift! I should have made more effort especially as she had taken time to wrap the treat!! We failed at packing, this makes me happy though because she is exactly the person I want to be with and moving to Leeds with her will begin an exciting adventure!!!
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Thursday, September 16, 2010

Maybe This Place Is Just Too Small?

Ready to say 'Goodbye'Image by Klearchos Kapoutsis via Flickr
Has it ever occurred to you that maybe you're not too big? That maybe this place is just too small?

Everyone gathered at my parents this evening, with the obvious exception, as they hosted a farewell party for mine and my partner's departure to Leeds Metropolitan University. I can't be too hard on my brother though as he called to inform that he was late because he was still working in North London. It would have been good to see his face before I head up the M1, he promised to make an appearance at Bexleyheath later in the evening but he didn't show. The party went well, although at times my father appeared to be erratic, maybe he was hiding the fact that he's struggling to handle that I'm leaving home! For the third time!!

I know I'm going to miss everyone, especially the children who are full of questions and still trying to understand why I'm going to university. The night went on longer than intended, which meant that the children were returned home late and that didn't go down too well with their mother. Her response was that I wouldn't be able to see them tomorrow. Not good, but hopefully just a reaction! Afterwards we travelled to Whetherspoons, here we met several friends and said our goodbyes. The original plan was to relive last week at the Indie bar but we were settled in Whetherspoons and we were able to talk instead of shout over the music. My sister was popular with the boys, shame that most of them had girlfriends right?!
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Tuesday, September 14, 2010

He Doesn't Look A Thing Like Jesus

Cristo Redentor, the famous Christ the Redeeme...Image via Wikipedia
I still haven't started packing items for university, although today I feel that I'm closer to being prepared. The car passed it's MOT although with tax and insurance still to pay this month I am starting to feel that the car is a financial commitment that I don't need. I visited the dentist for additional work on a filling, and I was advised that I should consider a crown as a longer term solution. Whilst at the dentist surgery I had a routine check with the hygienist who cleaned my teeth, this was very painful and not looking forward to the next appointment at Christmas. An interview had been arranged for a role at Leeds Met University that I'm excited about but I had to rearrange this until after freshers week. With everything slowly coming together you would think that I would be more relaxed. Instead the opposite as I have had vivid dreams about scenarios and situations that enhance insecurities. I'm not the only one though as my partner has also expressed that she has experienced similar visions. Including one where I die but then I'm resurrected somehow?! Not long now; family parties, leaving drinks and then the journey to Leeds which will be tough because every mile I travel will be another mile away from the children! They're closer to understanding, but I still feel it will be a while before they come to terms with my commitment to higher education.
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Sunday, September 12, 2010

New Heights

Magical Mountains - On ExploreImage by sir_watkyn via Flickr
The weekend had promised so much but didn't reach our expectations. The children, my partner and I were originally going to set up the tent and stay in the garden but the conditions weren't suitable. Instead the warmth of inside was much more attractive! My partner had arrangements with friends for the evenings but stayed over both nights when she returned home. She's the greatest after a few drinks! Saturday we awoke early, heading to the cinema to take advantage of Movies For Juniors but we arrived too late to qualify for the promotion. Instead we settled for Blockbuster, several DVD's were carefully selected and enjoyed over the duration of the weekend. The local park hosted a fun fair which we visited briefly, not really much available but the bumper cars were good entertainment value. I feel sad and nervous that this is the last full weekend that I will spend with both the children and my partner for a while. Everything is going to change and I'm worried that it may never be the same again once I move to Leeds! Moving into a new chapter is difficult and I wish I had the strength and knowledge to understand but I feel that is something I still have yet to gain!
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Friday, September 10, 2010

How Many Numbers Can You See..

How to fold a paper fortune teller 12 steps, s...Image via Wikipedia
Attempting to spend time with everyone before we leave for Leeds has been difficult. Last night though we were able to enjoy time with friends and family in Bexleyheath. The night started at JD Whetherspoons and as the night progressed more friends made an appearance. Quite what the attraction is about Bingo I don't know but a few arrived after the Thursday showpiece. I was still really disappointed about the fixed penalty I had received earlier but enjoyed the occasion. Once the alcohol started flowing everyone headed to a themed night at a nearby club. The prop for the evening was a newspaper, maybe not the most inventive but it provided many opportunities for interaction and to create new and innovative concepts. The paper fortune teller was a personal favourite but everyone wearing various hats was probably better expressed between the group. The place was a mess when we eventually left but at least we were reassured that the cleaner definitely earned their keep!! I think everyone returned home covered in pen from the Bingo dauber, I'm not sure that's what the intention is with the pen but I like Bingo a lot more now!
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Thursday, September 09, 2010

Son Do You Know Why I'm Stoppin' You For?

Jay-ZImage by NRK P3 via Flickr
Cause I'm young, and I'm late, and funds are low. This afternoon I collected my children from school and headed to meet my partner. The arrangement was to take her to work and then spend time with the children at the park. The rendezvous point was the library, approaching the destination I indicated that I would be taking the third exit from the roundabout. There were several distractions; my son attempting to reach out the window and touch cars, oncoming traffic and an obstruction in the road. Before I knew what had happened I was stopped by the police and taken through various checks. I wasn't too sure whether this was routine or whether I had committed an offence.  Nah, I ain't pass the bar but I know a little bit, enough that this fixed penalty notice is totally... Three points and a fine for contravening a No Entry sign, not what I needed before Leeds. I was disappointed because it was avoidable, it was the first time I had seen my children in six weeks and before I head to university. Afterwards I took my partner to work and played in the park with the children. It was good, I'm glad their back but I feel sad because soon I will be a distance from them and evening journeys to the park won't be achievable! 
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Monday, September 06, 2010

A Design For Life

ChildrenImage by joedawson via FlickrIt's been an emotional few weeks, plenty of activity and being without the children for such an extensive period has been difficult. They have been on holiday and I have missed them loads. This year has been the hardest as there have been occasions when I haven't been able to see them. A combination of disagreements, miscommunications and the holiday have all contributed to time apart. They returned home from their six-week holiday today and I'm excited because I will see them soon. Once they recover from all the cocktails!! I haven't spoke to them as much as I would have liked, I put that down to the time difference. Moving to Leeds will soon become a factor and I expect that it will take some time adapting. I believe that with communication tools and plenty of travelling I will be able to stay actively involved. I'm confident that I will find work in Leeds, I have been in contact with the university and promoters about potential roles and it's looking positive. That will assist with travel arrangements, not long now..
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Sunday, September 05, 2010

Date Frape

Image representing Facebook as depicted in Cru...Image via CrunchBase
Frape is a combination of the words 'Facebook' and 'Rape'. The act of Raping someones Facebook profile when they leave it logged in. Profile pictures, sexuality and interests are commonly changed however fraping can include the poking or messaging of strangers from someone else's Facebook account.

Boring! Yesterday I opted to change the birth date of not one but two friends profiles. Date Frape anyone?! I changed the date to the following day, with the knowledge that both of them wouldn't be online at midnight.

The result was wave after wave of well wishing messages, I later learnt that my sister, who was one of the people, had text message alerts setup for Facebook notifications. At midnight she wasn't sure what was going on, by morning both profiles had accumulated a decent amount of messages. Even once they had changed the date the messages still continued! Maybe this wasn't worth a blog post but it added entertainment to an otherwise chilled Sunday!! Don't leave your computers unattended, you have been warned!!!
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Saturday, September 04, 2010

What's The Haps On Your Party

Sleepover (film)Image via Wikipedia
I enjoy the interaction with male friends, the boisterousness, aggression and the banter but I often wonder whether I was either supposed to be born female, or perhaps I'm a homosexual in denial?! Don't worry I'm not considering any cosmetic surgery, I can also reassure my partner and friends that I'm not about to bat for the other team. Why have I reached this conclusion? Not sure really, hair straighteners, bronzer, eyeliner etc. Do you see where this is going? I spent yesterday between a house party for my partner's sister and at a friends house. I enjoyed the company, making friends at both locations! Although, not sure about the girl that stares constantly?! Anyway, returning to the house party meant that I was able to be involved in a sleepover, also known as a pyjama party or a slumber party, which is a party most commonly held by children or teenagers, where a guest or guests are invited to stay overnight at the home of a friend. The slumber party lasted until the following evening! I felt restless at times, like I was the possessive boyfriend that wants to know everything that his partner does. I said to my partner that she should spend time with her friends and attempted to leave several times but I'm kind of a big deal within her group. Although I'm disappointed that we didn't go as far as face masks and painting nails!! The conversation was an experience but also educational, I know much more about the female dynamic! The original plan for the evening was The Venue, New Cross but instead Scrabble was the alternative considered. Who knew?! Instead with plenty of alcohol we're going to have ourselves a private party..
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Friday, September 03, 2010

Something Good Can Work

Tourist HistoryImage via Wikipedia
Two Door Cinema Club are an electropop/indie rock band from Bangor and Donaghadee, Northern Ireland formed in 2007. They have released a contender for album of the year with 'Tourist History' and we were excited to be able to see them perform at New Slang, Kingston. The night was originally organised as part of a series of events to mark the 20th birthday of my partner's sister. Unfortunately she hasn't been too well recently, and she decided that she wouldn't be attending which meant that we had spare tickets available. A friend expressed interest immediately and after meeting my partner from work, we travelled with him towards Kingston. On arrival I managed to sell the remaining ticket to the first person we encountered. I felt like characters from the Jungle Book; Kaa with the persuasion but I felt inflated like Baloo from the amount of alcohol I had consumed. The Hippodrome was packed with eager fans and after queuing for ages to be served at the bar we made our way to the front. Two Door Cinema Club were on stage almost immediately and they got the place rocking. I enjoyed their set although our experience was cut short because we shared a toilet to save on time. Won't be making that mistake again! The journey home as expected took ages but Angry Birds provided entertainment. I still can't believe that the creators are considering a movie version?!
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Wednesday, September 01, 2010

You Can Eat My Pudding

The Ghost cinemaImage by phill.d via Flickr
I had a dentist appointment today, the reason being that I broke a filling and wanted it fixed before heading to university. It's amazing how things change when you qualify for free health care. Claiming jobseekers allowance I figured that I would be able to get a replacement, instead I only qualified for it to be patched up which was disappointing. I returned home and feeling aggrieved I posted an entry to a competition, complaining that I should win because I couldn't feel my mouth. I shortly received an email that I had won 2 VIP tickets to Dinner for Schmucks in London, including food and drink. I anticipated the red carpet treatment and to dine with the stars, okay I got slightly carried away with the moment! The VIP treatment involved a private screening at Paramount Pictures but we missed out on refreshments because we were behind schedule. I enjoyed the movie, I admit it wasn't what I expected but there were plenty of laugh out loud scenes. Steve Carrell's character is hilarious, he taxidermies mice and arranges them into elaborate dioramas, exactly!! Afterwards we were faced with one of our hardest decisions; whether to have a meal or enjoy cocktails. The meal was the more attractive and we opted for Nandos. It was my brothers birthday and after we had eaten, my partner and I headed in his direction but it was late and he wasn't feeling our enthusiasm. Instead we travelled home to have a celebration of our own!
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