January: The Best Moment

January has been a varied month to say the least. Starting with a cold which had me quite down, then going back to university and a few nights out. Having lots of revision and coursework meant I was kept busy, as well as MAD TV editing which is taking up too much of my time…

But I’m going to ask the question, what was the best moment of January?

After narrowing it down to 5, I chose Sunday 17th January as my favourite day. This was the day Mum and Dad came round to cook my housemates Sunday dinner. Once they left Anne, Josh and I played poker and Uno for many hours, and it was great fun! It was just one of those impromptu evenings that was great to spend with Anne and Josh :)

I have a few more things to share this month:

You can see my pictures from my January on Facebook.

And you can watch the MAD TV Gliding Report:

Special Post #28: Placement Year

As part of my course we get the option to go on a year in industry between the 2nd and 3rd year. I figured this would be a brilliant opportunity to get hands on experience working in the technology industry and to put what I’ve learnt so far into practice.

My department sends out information about placement opportunities, but being an Electronic Engineering degree, they are predominately engineering based. There has however been the odd placement that has got me really excited…

  1. Siemens — Undergraduate Broadcast Trainee. Delivering broadcast systems projects for the BBC. Sounds very cool and exactly up my street, but I get the impression it’s going to be more office work than hands on, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as long as its interesting and relevant. Also, the students offered placements last year were turned down at the last minute, due to the recession, so even if they offer me a place, I’ll have to have a backup me-thinks…
  2. Sony — Testing of Outside Broadcast Vehicles. That’s worth saying again: designing and testing OB vehicles!! This is the place I am most excited about. For those who don’t know an OB vehicle are those huge BBC trucks you see with satellites on top that are essentially a portable control room. They take multiple camera feeds, can be live edited and processed, then distributed to elsewhere. At the moment, I think this is my dream: I love media and technology and this is such a great combination of both!
  3. Sky — Outside Broadcasting. Josh’s dad used to work at Sky, and he’s sent off our CV’s to see if we can get places working in the OB department. Very cool, but I’m not getting my hopes up.
  4. Sony — R&D. Working in the Sony research lab programming PlayStation platforms and providing usability feedback. This was the placement I was really looking forward to applying for, but I’m supposedly only allowed to apply to one of the two Sony placements. I like the other one better. But I’m trying to apply for both anyway, because I like programming :)
  5. BBC — Future Media & Technology. Production technology, communications systems, transmitters, receivers, and new types of domestic equipment are all potential projects. And it’s the BBC!! Lots of people apply for this placement, so I’m not hopeful, but it would be the dogs bollocks!

I’ve applied to all these places in the last month, and haven’t heard a single word back yet. I can’t see any more places I really want to apply for, so these are my 5 eggs, all in the placement basket. Let’s see which ones hatch…

Don’t Be Alive, Live.

An eventful weekend to say the least. I went out on Friday night for Laurie’s 21st. I didn’t intend to have lots to drink or stay out very long because I had to be up at 7am on Saturday for gliding!

MAD TV are starting a new series titled “Gave Societies A Go” where Adam, our lead reporter, ‘tries out’ various university societies. We thought we’d start off with gliding, because it sounded like fun. I was appointed cameraman and editor. After getting up from only 3 hours sleep, I was transported to Lasham Airfield, just south of Basingstoke. It’s apparently the largest airfield in the world (or at least in the UK, depending on who you ask). I didn’t intend on going Gliding, but who can turn down a free flight? I ended up having two fights, and a great day with Adam and Georges filming and joking around. Stay tuned for the MAD TV report, coming soon…

Saturday evening I went over to Lauren & Heather’s for a film night. I was convinced that I would fall asleep as soon as Role Models started, but the pizza and Coke must’ve known how good the film was going to be and decided I should stay awake to see it. Unfortunately they also kept me up for St Trinian’s which, despite the promise of sexy girls, was a few scenes short of a compelling plot. However, catching up with Lauren and Heather was reason in itself to stay until 1am, when I finally left for some well-deserved sleep.

Sunday was another early start, but this time for something far more thrilling than gliding… Primark! Got to Sophie & Julie’s on time, and barely awake, to find Sophie still in her pyjamas! 45 minutes later we finally left to go shopping…

It was a fun morning and I got a few things to add to my wardrobe. Julie is the funniest person to watch shop because she’ll try and talk herself out of buying something 20 times before she finally decides to get it anyway :D We did make her try on loads of hats though to see if there was one that didn’t suit her, we failed – turns out Julie can pull off any hat, whereas I just get laughed at as soon as they touch my head :D

The rest of the weekend was largely spent editing the gliding report, I’m hoping to make it the best thing MAD TV has ever produced… we’ll have to see how it turns out…

Today and yesterday I’ve been subjected to a “Leadership Course” that teaches teamwork and leadership skills. So far it’s been ok, but nothing ground-breaking…

Today, I realised that I’ve been spending a lot of time worrying about things that really don’t matter at all, and that at least a few of my close friends have had to put up with a lot of moaning recently. As much as I love talking to those people, sometimes it’s just not necessary to share some of your most private thoughts with friends, just because you know they’ll listen. I’ve come to rely on talks with certain people to get out my thoughts, but that shouldn’t be the case. Nothing makes you forget your worry’s more, than enjoying the company of friends.

PS Pictures coming soon!

The Devil Makes Work For Idle Minds

Friday went really well. I’m very happy with the presentation we gave in the afternoon and then I submitted a large group project to get that finished. Sound like cause for celebration? Josh and I thought so. Obviously I remember the entire evening crystal clear and no alcohol was involved at all. The fact that the following morning half a case of cider had gone missing was pure coincidence. But seriously, it was fun to relax with Josh for a bit before going to the union. It seems like we’re forever doing work together sometimes…

Saturday night I went climbing, only the gym was closed so I went to Sophie & Hannah’s house instead. I love those impromptu evenings where you end up catching up with friends you haven’t seen in ages.

Sunday Mum, Dad & Beth paid a visit and cooked Sunday Lunch for the entire house. First time we’ve all sat down for a meal together and it was great. That evening Josh, Anne and played UNO for about 6 hours, brought back lots of memories from sixth form when I’d play it every day :)

The week started with some filming on Monday, just a note: If you’re filming a radio advert, you don’t need a camera and autocue! It was good fun anyway and Adam and I chance to bounce around plenty of cool ideas for future MAD TV reports.

Monday evening I had 2 Stage Crew meetings. They went on for hours and I didn’t really have anything to contribute to any of the discussions, I felt slightly surplus…

I got home and wanted to relax, what better way than to play UNO! Anne is good at UNO, and talking, so it wasn’t a shock that 3am rolled around and we were still there nattering…

Tuesday I decided to check off some errands I’d been meaning to do for ages. I got the brakes on my bike tightened and collected my tripod (the last of a line of self-bought Christmas presents after my camcorder and external hard drive). In the afternoon I ventured onto campus to edit a MAD TV report and then attended a MAD TV meeting.

I could talk for hours about MAD TV and the exciting things happening with it. There’s so much to do, and I find it all fascinating. I find myself wishing that I didn’t have to do my course so I spend all my time doing MAD TV. That says just as much about MAD TV as it does my dislike for my course at the moment…

Tuesday evening I helped Stage Crew setup comedy night. I used to love comedy night last year, and I went to it every week. I’m not sure if it’s because it doesn’t seem as funny as it used to, or because I don’t live 20 seconds walk from it any more…

MAD Wednesday was just that. I uploaded a new segment called “Assemble!”, which will eventually act as a series of adverts for MAD TV where we all gather together upon hearing Yas & Mike shouting “Assemble!”. I’m looking forward to releasing more in the future.

Then in the evening was another MAD TV meeting and then long talks into the night about what we could do to advertise MAD TV and progress on some of the bigger reports we’re working on.

That brings us to today. One lecture this morning reminds me how stupid our course is: Two of our lecturers have missed several lectures and the lecture this morning was a catch up. But we weren’t told which lecturer it was a catch up for. To be fair, when she turned up she did only have one leg, which might have been the reason for her absence.

Looking ahead at my schedule, I’m pretty busy until the 20th February with formative tests (there the ones that don’t actually count towards anything), coursework and MAD TV things. But I’ve planned another amazing boat trip for Easter! It’s going to be mega :D

  • Happiness. 6 out of 10
  • Tiredness. 2 out of 5
  • Workload. 9 out of 10
  • Last Meal. My 4 hour lunch: sandwiches, grapes, yogurt, chocolate, crisps…
  • Song of the day. The Kooks – Watching The Ships Roll In
  • Thought for the day. Brand new! The same as before, but slightly different.
  • What I’m Doing Now. Not sure, either: Not doing revision, not doing coursework, not applying for placements, not going to Tesco or looking forward to seeing Julie later (:

The Perfect Balance?

This is the day! Two coursework’s due in today. And I’m sitting here writing my blog? Yup. I am confident it’ll all be done.

I’ve spent a lot of time the last week at university doing work. I’ve come up with a new year’s resolution, that is to arrive on campus at 9am every day. And so far I’ve managed it. I find myself a lot less distracted at university and I’m much more likely to do work. So I’ve done coursework and revision every day.

The Media Labs have become my second home. I’m writing this in the lab right now. And it’s good because no-one ever uses it so I have the place to myself. I can get it at 9am and they lock the door at 5pm, but as long as your in, you can get out.

Just because I’ve done all this work doesn’t mean I haven’t been having some fun. Spending days on campus means always seeing people I know and bumping into people. But I’ve also made use of evenings. On Tuesday I went to see Lauren and Heather, who I haven’t seen in a while, so it was really good to catch up. Wednesday (still known as MAD Wednesday) was the MAD TV meeting and chatting to people afterwards. Thursday I went to see Julie and Sophie, always a good laugh.

The next few days I’m going to relax before hitting the revision full on on Monday, getting to university at 9am every day again!

Mum, Dad and Beth are coming down on Sunday, so really looking forward too that (and getting my camera back!!!)

  • Happiness. 7.5 out of 10
  • Tiredness. 0 out of 5 (having a regular sleep pattern helps so much with this… and I woke up 1 minute before my alarm today :D)
  • Workload. 8 out of 10 (revision)
  • Last Meal. Sandwiches for lunch (coronation chicken!)
  • Song of the day. Duffy – Mercy (woke up with it in my head)
  • Thought for the day. There’s more of that where it came from
  • What I’m Doing Now. Pondering what to do this evening……

In Gear

OK, so this is the start of the week I’ve been dreading for a month now. I have 3 coursework’s and 5 formative tests in 1 week. I think my cold is partially to blame for me not being as prepared as I’d like to be, but I will also blame my course for, once again, teaching a Digital Media student, electronics.

So I’m getting sleep now so I can be on campus for 8am tomorrow. It’s an early start for what I know WILL be a very productive day.

I say that but this evening alone has provided me with too many distractions to clear my head, in writing this blog post alone I’ve had 2 distractions!

I was invited to drinks at 8pm that I had to decline so I could write some covering letters. Then Josh came home, which meant organising what work we’d do tomorrow. Then it got to 9:30pm and I was talked at by 2 people online and 1 person on the phone simultaneously about MAD TV things. It got to 10:30pm and I really needed to go to sleep at 10pm, when Davey wants to show me a cool gadget he’s seen (which, admittedly, is really cool). Then another person from MAD TV starts texting me! Sometimes I really have to understand that if I’m trying to write a covering letter, doesn’t mean I’m free to talk. This world provides too many ways to be distracted:

  • Email
  • Facebook
  • Live Messenger
  • Skype
  • Texts
  • Phone Calls
  • Face-to-face

Sometimes I just want to get away… but then I love talking to people so I pass it off as ok. But then I never get any work done, or in fact, anything done. What is the solution?

  • Happiness. 3 out of 10
  • Tiredness. 3 out of 5 (but i must sleep!)
  • Workload. 10 out of 10
  • Last Meal. Cheese on toast
  • Song of the day. John Mayer – Love Song For No One
  • Thought for the day. So tired of being alone, so hurry up and get here
  • What I’m Doing Now. Getting more stressed, hence I can’t sleep, which is getting me more stressed. It’s a vicious cycle.

Almost, but not quite, entirely unlike work

It’s been a long time since Sunday, and a lot should’ve happened. I had planned a weeks worth of coursework and revision. Instead I found myself with a horrible cold that’s still keeping me up at night, memories of the past come back to haunt me and snow. It’s not like the world is against me, its just I’ve become the master of procrastination. Why? Because of my course. In essence, I feel falsely sold an Electronics degree as a “Media” degree.

  • Monday. Troubled sleep. Went to see Phil at uni. Bought a new camcorder with my Christmas money.
  • Tuesday. Josh arrives. Programming coursework. Playing in the snow.
  • Wednesday. Troubled sleep. Revision. Go home.
  • Thursday. Camcorder arrives. See Dirty Dancing. Back to Guildford.
  • Friday. Troubled sleep. Revision. Sorting out my room.

I want to talk about what I’m looking forward to in 2010, because I’m forever planning:

  • January. I want to catch up on work.
  • February. Visiting my sister :)
  • March. Another boat trip is in the pipeline.
  • April. Easter. Panicking about exams starts…
  • May. Jake coming to visit :)
  • June. Exams. Exams. Pain. Agony. Exams.
  • July. Guilfest, because it was amazing last year.
  • August. Start my placement.

So shaping up to be an interesting year. We’ll see. You know I’ll keep you posted, whatever I’m doing.

  • Happiness. 4 out of 10
  • Tiredness. 2 out of 5
  • Workload. 10 out of 10
  • Last Meal. Cereal
  • Song of the day. Incubus – Drive
  • Thought for the day. This YouTube video
  • What I’m Doing Now. Still not doing work…