Monday, 17 December 2012

Fantasy Custom Drumkit

If I were to have my own custom-made drum kit I would go with Sonor for a few reasons. First of all I am an AC/DC fan and I learned the basics of drumming partly from watching and listening to Phil Rudd. He has played Sonor in both stints with AC/DC. I got into Iron Maiden when Nicko McBrain was already in the band but the first song I could play along with the drums to was Hallowed Be Thy Name, which was recorded when Clive Burr was still in the band. But Nicko played Sonor in his earlier years with the band. The main reason for playing Sonor comes from the musical boom produced from the Sonor kit of Bill Andrews of Death and Massacre. I'm a fan of Death and Bill was drummer in the band on the Leprosy and Spiritual Healing albums. His drum sound is the one that I would want to emulate. Each tom is distinctive and produces an individual note. Some metal drummers' recorded drum sound has the toms giving off a thud or slap or clatter or a bang and it's not always easy to distinguish which tom it is unless you listen carefully to the position in stereo headphones. Bill Andrews' toms were always properly tuned and you had a fair idea what tom he was likely to be hitting from the note it produced, even through speakers that you were standing away to one side of. For that sound quality alone, I would choose Sonor. But I would also include a couple of rototoms which would have to be sourced from Remo. So the drums would consist of  2 rototoms, 5 tom toms from 8" to 14", 16x16 and 18x16 floor toms, double 24" bass drums and a 13x6.5 snare. Hardware including mountings, bass drum pedals, throne and cymbal stands would also be sourced from Sonor. The rototom stand would be sourced from Remo and the gong stand would be sourced from Paiste.
Cymbals and gong would be Paiste because of Nicko McBrain's video of his cymbal setup on youtube and the fact that Dave Lombardo of my favourite band Slayer uses Paiste. Gong, 2 chinas, 4 crashes, 2 splashes, hi-hat and a ride would make up the cymbals. I'd probably source one of those special o-zone crashes with the holes from Sabian though.  I priced everything on the internet. Drums minus rototoms come to €12668.86 from Sonor's SQ2 system. Hardware, including rototoms and stand come to a total of €5202.40. Any hardware not sourced from SQ2 was sourced from thomann dot de forward slash ie. Thomann was also the source for pricing all cymbals. They totalled €3502.00. The grand total for everything before carrier bags/casings (which I did not price) are taken into account is €21373.26. The photo is a rough freehand scribble overhead view of the setup.

Saturday, 15 December 2012

Driving Test

Well, as you can see from the photo, I was unsuccessful on this occasion. I was too nervous. I thought the report would be much worse but I knew early on I wasn't as good as I can be and I couldn't relax as a result. I missed a couple of gears because of not letting the clutch up enough and letting the engine over-rev causing me to think I was in the wrong gear. I didn't give enough clearance to stationary vehicles. Moving off and roundabouts were not too bad but the marks together with other faults could've failed me anyway. I didn't move off at a set of traffic lights and obstructed traffic. He gave me my only pink for that. But one pink is a failure even if all the other sections were fine.  My instructor said he'd seen worse sheets after a test even from some people who have their own cars. Mirrors, understanding traffic controls and right of way were all faultless on the sheet. At least it was a proper fail and not one mistake and the tester was totally fair an impartial.

Friday, 14 December 2012

Latest Driving Lesson

Test tomorrow. Today's lesson went much smoother. He pushed me to go to 100kph on the dual carriageway. Only minor issues during the lesson. I need to be a bit more confident. Still a few rough edges to smooth off because of that. No major moments today thankfully. A couple of times he reacted too quickly. I was about to maneuver correctly and I knew what I was doing. But he tried to coach me too soon and I doubted what I was doing as a result. I can understand him wanting me to get everything spot on before the test. But he just needs to wait until I get into difficulty before speaking now. That way I will, more often than not, do what I'm supposed to do without his coaching. I said it to him that he spoke too soon when I was able to do the move myself and I started to doubt myself as a result. I'm confident getting up to speed now. It's slowing down from the higher gears and judging my approach to roundabouts from faster roads that are trickier than they seem from the passenger seat. My instructor is giving me one more lesson in the morning before my test. I hope that will benefit me. I probably should have cancelled before 10 days to go (to give me more time without losing my fee) because I'm not quite there yet. I'm probably 2 to 3 lessons shy of my instructor being confident of me passing. But I intend to get out of Waterford after the test, pass or fail. I won't be able to take another test or more lessons until I know where I am and how I'm fixed financially. So I might as well try to pass it now. I must read my rules of the road book tonight because there are 1 or 2 signs that might catch me out in the written part. But my instructor will go over them and show me under the bonnet (the hood if you're an American reader) tomorrow to go over what else I need to know. It'll seriously improve my job prospects too if I can manage a pass. If I pass, I expect I'll only have done the bare minimum to pass. If I fail, I'd rather it be a lot of faults than a single silly mistake. I hope I'll be blogging tomorrow as a fully qualified driver. Fingers crossed!

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Latest driving lesson

So here's the next installment in a series of blogs leading up to my driving test. Today's lesson went pretty well, considering the weather. There was low light even though the lesson started at midday, due to thick cloud cover. There was also constant drizzle. At one stage I had to pull in and wipe the right hand side mirror because it was almost impossible to see anything in it. But at least I have the confidence to do that by myself now. The light level, drizzle and cloud colour also meant cars of certain colours, namely greys, silvers and blacks, were difficult to spot from a distance. I was about to start a left reverse when my instructor spotted a car coming behind. I didn't even see it until after he mentioned it so I waited. It was a black car with no lights on. I was much more confident reversing today. I had a good feel for the clutch to control my speed reversing around a blind corner. Even though it was a fairly sharp corner, I got around with the steering wheel just shy of full lock and ended up spot on parallel with the footpath, approximately 6 inches away. This might seem easy to an experienced driver, but you have to remember I'm learning later in life (old dogs, etc.) and the only car I've driven is my instructor's Kia Rio.
Later on I had "one of those moments". There's one in every lesson. I was trying to do a hill start when some eejit in a big old Toyota Land Cruiser parked right in front of me. My instructor told me let it roll back a bit in first with the clutch fully in to give myself space. This caused me to over rev with the clutch pedal partly pressed when I got going again. There was a horrible smell of burning clutch as a result. Normally I have a tendency to let the clutch pedal up too quickly! He also took me through the same junction that he obstructed my clutch control the last day. I completed it with aplomb this time. A boat parked on the side of the street was an obstacle we had to negotiate. Yes, you read right, a boat, it was on a trailer. Some of the tight twisty streets in Waterford mean I really have to lean forward and back because the front right pillar on the car causes an awkward blind spot, and that's in normal forward driving!
I also went on to the 80kph speed limit dual carriageway for a while just in case the tester might want to see how confident I am on the open road getting up to 5th gear, and see how comfortable I am at slowing down from those speeds.
My next lesson is Friday. I hope I remember to look and signal correctly and not be so jerky with the clutch and brake when I'm taking my test Saturday.

Monday, 10 December 2012

Faux Fashion Blog

Duffle Coats

It seems that styles from the late 1970s to early 1980s are making a comeback in men's fashion trends. I see a lot of corduroy jeans and teacher jackets (the ones with the leather elbows) and patterned man cardigans in the shops along with more natural, earthly browns and greens and cream tones. One I remember well from my childhood, because I used to own one, was the duffle coat. Just out of curiosity, I decided to see what the price of them would be. I was quite surprised to see an €80 price tag on one in Dunnes stores. I thought to myself that I wouldn't have expected to see that price on them in Debenhams. Oh how wrong I was! Thinking I'd see similar prices, I decided to see. I strolled across from Dunnes in City Square shopping centre in Waterford, through Kylemore café and into the menswear section of Debenhams. They were as much as a shocking €197 in Debenhams.
Today I wanted to walk off a big dinner so decided to take a stroll around Waterford. The duffle coats entered my mind again. So I decided to sample the menswear section of the main clothes shops and compare prices. I went to Dunnes and Debenhams first to remind me of the prices. Then it was into Pennys where you can get them for €45. After that it was back to City Square to see what River Island had to offer. They have them for a pretty steep €114. Then I thought of Tk maxx. That would be my final stop on the duffle coat price comparison. Tk maxx normally do fairly upmarket labels at fairly affordable prices, but you wouldn't expect them to price as low as Dunnes because of the fact that they are high street labels rather than department store commissioned brands. To my surprise, it turns out that you can buy a duffle coat in Tk maxx for a mere €69.99. That is €10.01 LESS than Dunnes! How about that?!
The verdict is that Pennys is the cheapest but, going on label and build quality, Tk maxx is probably the best value for money. So if you're someone who always likes to be on trend and you don't mind going all 70s/80s in your appearance, a duffle coat is bang on trend and will keep you warm. But I know that we're all a little stretched for cash these days and doubly so at this time of year. So your best option is to go to Tk maxx for a quality product at the right price (ironically Dunnes' goal). But if that's beyond your budget Pennys is a useful option. You'll only be wearing it until the spring and you might be following a different trend next winter. So it might not need to be as durable as the fashion label option.
I'm not trying to muscle in on any fashion blogger's territory or promote or put you off any of the shops mentioned in this blog post. I tweeted the results earlier today and my sister called me a fashion blogger teasing. But it put the idea in my head that this would be something interesting to write about... so I did!

Driving Lessons

I wanted to post something tonight before I head off to bed but wasn't sure what I should write about. Ever get that kind of an urge? After a brief period of thought I decided to write something related to my driving test which is coming up next weekend. So I'll probably update people on my progress during the week.
Today's lesson went well but I just keep forgetting things because I don't have a car to practice with. I only drive when I'm getting lessons. My instructor doesn't expect me to pass Saturday but he says I'm close. I still haven't got everything together. There are just a few things that haven't clicked into place yet. It'll be a silly mistake that will fail me, in my opinion, not a lack of ability to drive. I'm kind of on the limit of listening to my instructor to tell me what to do and wanting to do it myself. Sometimes, because I get a bit tense in certain situations, he assumes this means I might need coaching so he speaks. This causes me to wait for his instruction so I stop doing what I'm supposed to be doing, usually at the worst possible time. If he'd let me go and do it and I make a mistake, it's ok, I can learn from that. But if he let me go I'm more likely to get it mostly right and he can tell me after the lights/junction/roundabout how I can do it better next time, AFTER we've cleared the hazard. Him speaking to me just before a lights/junction/roundabout makes me hesitate so I don't react in time and makes me more panicky and driving gets more jerky.
Today I stalled at a junction because I forgot to put the clutch pedal down and was probably in the wrong gear anyway. So later on I was in full control at another junction and I wanted to let the clutch pedal up to move a bit further and my instructor had the pedal fully down. It flustered me a bit and I tensed up again because I was no longer in control of the car. I told him this. If he'd left me alone to negotiate the junction it would've been alot smoother. He claimed his foot got in the way by accident, but I doubt it. His clutch and break override the ones on my side and when I needed to let the pedal up to move the car on it stayed to the floor. I think we should practice pulling in, moving off and entering parking spaces more next lesson. My next lesson is Wednesday. I hope to get at least one more lesson after that before my test.

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Ballylongford Photographic Memoir

This is volume 2 of the book Ballylongford - A Photographic Memoir by Nancy McAuliffe. My dad is in it twice. There is one of him as a teenager in front of his home in Ballyline with 3 other young children. There is another of him in a football team photo. The football one is familiar to me because I first saw it as a child. In volume 1 there are photos of the old girls school which show my aunt Mary but my mom's name is in the text underneath. My mom is correctly mentioned in volume 2. Both volumes are great historic photographic references of my home village of Ballylongford in Co. Kerry. I'll post more photos on the Ballylongford ex-pats facebook page later.

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Upgrade For Android

Just upgraded blogger for my Samsung Galaxy Y. So far I like it. I like that I can view the blog from my phone now and not just the posts in the editor.

Monday, 12 November 2012

Important Appointment

I got a letter from the road safety authority today. I have an appointment for a driving test. I'm not ready at all. I'll get in touch with my driving instructor and get advice on how to proceed. I need to get my learner permit renewed and take more lessons.

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Fantasy Race Track (Part 2)

In my previous post I described the Formula Opel circuit which runs through a village. Now I will describe the Grand Prix circuit which was designed beside it a couple of years later. I will try to describe it how I reckon a formula 1 car would get around a lap.
The lap starts at the bottom of the picture. Out of the final turn and downhill past the grid markings flat out in top gear. At the bottom of the hill is a tight right and out of turn one you go uphill to a bridge over pit lane exit. The original design went right straight after the pits but I lengthened the straight to make space for more pit garages recently and the pit exit was influenced by the Abu Dhabi circuit in that it goes underneath the track. Anyway, up to third gear by turn two and turning left leveling on to a long straight, underneath the bridge into the paddock, where you reach 7th gear again. Turn 3 is a flat out top gear left and then a downhill straight, still in 7th, to turn 4. This is the fastest part of the circuit, I reckon. Turn 4 is the lowest turn on the Grand Prix circuit. Rising up slightly out of it in 4th gear, it levels off on to another 7th gear straight. At the end of that straight is a flat out kink left up and over a crest and levels (still in 7th) to a long right hand sweep to a left/right s - enter the left in 4th, exit the right in 3rd. The club pit straight is straight on but the Grand Prix circuit turns hairpin left. Out of the hairpin into a double right that's essentially a hairpin right and immediately into a long left hand-sweeper. Accelerating up through the gears along this turn from 1st or 2nd, you get to about 3rd at the right hand kink on to a short bit of a straight. Then it dips down into the tight 2nd gear right hander before the long back straight at the top of the picture. Uphill out of the corner on to the back straight. It levels off as you get to 3rd and starts a slight incline from about 5th gear. Reaching 7th gear along the back straight and keeping your foot on the throttle for the right hand kink that I call the North Curve for obvious reasons. At the top of that hill you change down to 4th gear for the long right hand turn I call TCBS (The Corner Before the esses). Then you level off and change up to 5th gear before reaching a section inspired by the Becketts section of Silverstone. Enter the esses in 5th and exit in 3rd. Then it's a quick blast to another right/left esses with high kerbs and unforgiving run-off to stop cars cutting here. That esses is taken balancing on the throttle in 3rd and exits as you change up to 4th. Then it's on to another 7th gear straight that is slightly downhill. Then it's hard on the brakes and down to 1st for a tight hairpin right, leveling off, into a section I call the left-hand complex. There is a link road to the second last corner that cuts out the left-hand complex but it's really only an escape road. Square left out of the right hand hairpin and a quick blast and up to 2nd gear for the next left. Slightly longer stretch and up to 3rd and feathering the throttle for the next left. Then a quick blast of throttle again and brake and down to 1st for the square right away from the left-hand complex. Then the long straight to the final corner. At the start of the straight you can hear the engine note diminish slightly after changing to 2nd as you go up a short but steep hill. Then it levels off again and you accelerate up to 7th gear. A long blast in 7th for the rest of the lap right around to turn 1. There is a slight incline before the final turn which is the highest point of both circuits. A daunting turn, like 130R at Suzuka in reverse, except wide enough to take a couple of lines through it. It's taken flat out in 7th. Although it was originally inspired by Woodcote at Silverstone. Then it's out of the final turn and downhill past the grid markings for another lap.

Fantasy 2-in-1 Race Track

I was looking at a diagram of the new Circuit of the Americas race track in Austin, Texas. Home to the U.S. Grand Prix Formula 1 race this year. It inspired me to upload a diagram of a fantasy race track I designed in the late 1990s. It has some similarities to Circuit of the Americas but was designed long before it. There is a street circuit beside a permanent, purpose-built circuit with link roads to combine the 2 for the option of a le Mans-style race. The street circuit is 4.25km (2.64 miles). It is top-left of the picture. I call it the Formula Opel circuit after the premier single-seater racing series in Ireland at the time. Beside it is the 7.15km (4.44 miles) Grand Prix circuit with link roads and short circuit options.
The Formula Opel circuit is unique for a circuit that is not figure-of-eight in that, counting chicanes as more than one turn, it has as many left turns as it does right: 22 in all (11 left, 11 right). It starts out anti-clockwise. Past the pits at the start of the lap into a fast left hand sweep and downhill to the lowest point of both circuits, a left, right, left chicane. Then a short straight, slightly uphill, to an esses. It levels off and crosses a dual carriageway into a tricky right and then the slow, tight hairpin left. A short straight before dipping down into another s bend. Rising up from the slightly banked exit onto a relatively long straight. Then a slightly banked left before a tight hairpin left. It drops down into 2 right hand turns in quick succession that take you into the village and the true street circuit part of the track. It is pretty much a purpose-built design from turn 1 to the hairpin before the village except where it crosses the dual carriageway. The rest is street circuit and public road to turn 1 just after the pits. Coming out of the double right-hander, you enter the village up a hill and then it levels off about a third of the way along that street. Then there is a tight right hander at a junction of the end of that street and a wide side street split down the middle by a barrier that takes you into an old farm yard. The circuit dips down and rises up into the farm yard right handed before a left hairpin bend and dips down and rises up again and levels off out of the farm along the other side of the street with the barrier in the middle. Back at the junction you turn right into an old creamery yard and turn left around the creamery coming back out along the other side of the village. There is a bit of a straight here and it drops downhill about 2 thirds of the way along that straight and turns right out of the village and levels off. Still on the public road, there is a short straight and then a right hand turn on to the start/finish straight. You can use the hill up to where the road merges with the dual carriageway as banking to maintain speed out of the final corner. The dual carriageway is off to the left but the circuit follows the junction off it on to a small country road modified to become the start/finish straight for the races. Then its full throttle past the pits for another lap. The hatched areas on the top of the picture are the built up areas of the village. To the left of that you can make out the grid markings and pit & paddock area. 
The bottom of the picture is where the Grand Prix circuit lap starts. The pit & paddock and main grandstand areas are here. Nearer to the Formula Opel circuit is a link road that makes up the pit straight of the small Kart track and the Club circuit. The Club circuit is basically the section of the Grand Prix circuit next to the village in reverse. You can make out the pit & paddock areas for the Club and Kart circuits parallel to each other. There is also a long link road about a third of the way up the picture for extra short circuit options. There are a couple of link roads that link the hairpin on the Formula Opel circuit just before the village to the Club circuit area of the Grand Prix circuit so that you can link the 2 for a le Mans-style super lap of 11.4km (7.08 miles). I'll post more in the next blog.

Friday, 9 November 2012


I woke up Tuesday morning and felt as though the fluid was bubbling back into my kidneys as though my bladder was too full. So I tried to go to the toilet but I was stood there for a good while waiting and nothing was coming out. It was about 6:00 so I went back to bed. I felt backed up and uncomfortable but I managed to get a bit more rest. The following day I made an appointment to see a doctor. The receptionist said she couldn't fit me in unless it was urgent. I decided to risk the early Thursday slot. I managed to go a couple of times during the day but it was difficult to get a decent flow. I started to worry. But I ate and drank as normal during the day. I went to the doctor the next morning after breakfast. She examined me and couldn't find anything wrong with my bladder or kidney area just from the feel of it. She was quite abrupt with me and this made me uncomfortable, making me worry more. She took blood and arranged a scan but she said it'll take weeks for the scan appointment and probably around 2 weeks for the blood test result. Before I left I asked if there was anything more she could do and she said not at the moment. So I went home anxious and upset but not able to tell her how I was feeling because she was so abrupt with me during the examination. I was not really able to go for the rest of the day and, worried at the prospect of having to put up with this until either something went wrong or the scan appointment letter came through, I decided to go see the doctor again. She examined me again but said pretty much the same thing. So I told her exactly how I felt about nothing being done and how upset I was. She said worrying about it was only making me more tense so making the problem worse. She also said it was difficult to feel if things were genuinely worse down there with an empty bladder. The only thing I had to eat that day was an orange. No appetite from worrying. She gave me a prescription for something to ease my nerves and help me relax and stop worrying.
I went home and tried to go and amazingly there was a bit of a flow! I had a long overdue breakfast at around 4:10 in the evening after drinking plenty water. There wasn't much of a flow but I managed to go twice more. I'll keep drinking fluids and keep trying like the doctor said. If I experience any pain over the weekend the doctor told me where the out of hours caredoc place is and I have their number anyway.
I never got the prescription tablets. I'm just going to try to wind down from the stress of this week on my own. Also if I do experience worse symptoms I don't want to be too chilled out or drowsy to do anything about it. Maybe I would have relaxed enough to function properly if I'd taken them. But I don't want to depend on pills for emotional stability. I'd rather get that from a nice girlfriend. I'm looking if there are any nice ladies out there!

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

More Job Applications

I blogged a few days ago about how I decided not to apply for a job recently because the experience required in the job description was quite specific. I saw the same company advertising again today. This time I decided to email my CV. I noticed that a company in Dublin were also advertising. The company in Dublin already have my CV from an agency and have already turned me down. But the fact that the Dublin company are advertising means they will take away potential applicants from the company I applied to today, increasing the chances of them not getting the ideal candidate. If luck was on my side, they would end up having to train someone who is not quite there in terms of experience because of not getting the ideal candidate. It's a long shot, I know, but at least I took the 2nd chance I was given.
When I asked for advice recently on applying for a job that I may not be experienced for I was told to have an excellent cover letter. But as I was writing the email I decided on a different strategy. I didn't give much away so that they would at least have to look at my CV. I once was hired for a job that wasn't advertised because the work came up after I was interviewed and they needed someone straight away. I had the necessary experience for the job they hired me for, not the job I was interviewed for. So if the company that I sent the CV to today see my CV they might keep it on record for future reference. Or a suitable job might come up that they need someone for in a hurry. Hopefully something will come up soon. I'll keep looking and keep applying.

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Latest Jobseeking Developments

I phoned a guy about a CNC job in Tralee this morning. A job I know I'm qualified to do 66-75% of. "Training will be provided" was in the job description, so I know I would pick up what I didn't know quite quickly. He turned me down because he wants to give it to someone local. I told him I'm from Kerry originally and there is nothing for me in Waterford. But he was already convinced in his own mind that it wasn't worth bringing me all the way from Waterford for a job that's part-time to start with and will probably be temporary anyway. I could have tried to be even more convincing but he could find someone local by the time I make the move from Waterford and I got the impression that he didn't want to commit to anything yet because he doesn't know the full extent of the workload from the new customer yet. So I have to keep looking. I might phone him in a couple of months just in case he has more work coming in. I might be in Kerry then anyway. I'm looking for a way out of Waterford. I'm seriously considering getting out of here in the next few weeks anyway, even without a job. It's not nice living here anymore.

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Life is not fair

Let me start with yesterday. I saw a CNC Milling programmer  job advertised. I gave a good look at the job description and, even though I would love to do that as a job, I decided not to apply. The job description was very specific about the type of experience they were looking for in applicants and said only apply if you have this experience because those that don't won't be considered. I don't have any experience in 3D CAD. That was one of the specific requirements. If I had, I would have applied.
I missed the chance to get into a decent 3D CAD course run by a 3rd level institution because I discovered it too late. It was free to people on jobseekers allowance. It started at the end of September and I didn't know about it until the 2nd week of October. It would have given a major boost to my chances of employment. I applied for another 3D CAD course today, that is not starting until March. It's not ideal but it'll improve on what I already know. At least if I don't find any job in the mean time I should have that to fall back on. But I need something now. I'm caught in a trap now.
My savings will have run out by the end of the month. My last chance to look for work beyond Ireland is slipping away because I can't afford to relocate anymore. I can't get work here because employers keep IGNORING what is a professionally prepared, up to date CV with references. I have got calls from Canada, The Netherlands and the UK, so I know my CV is up to scratch. I had to let the Canada idea go months ago because of money issues to allow myself to keep the UK and Europe open as options. Europe is out now and the UK is slipping away fast. I can't afford to get out now. So I'm caught in an unemployment trap. Can't get a job anywhere and where there has been interest, I can't afford to go there anymore.
Today was a particularly depressing day. The Mercedes formula 1 team tweeted that they were giving graduates the chance to get work experience in formula 1. It's not fair because I'm not an academic. I didn't go to college. The conventional education system does not suit everyone. I'm at least at the same level as the best of those graduates in specific roles. I want to learn on the job and not sitting in a classroom doing theory. Some of the anti social behaviour that students get up to can be a nightmare for families and professionals living near student accomodation yet they can always look forward to the best jobs if they have the right piece of paper in their possession after college. All my learning is just as relevant as theirs but I don't have their piece of paper so I can't get a job without the right kind of experience. But it's a catch 22. How can I get the experience if companies won't give me a chance? I have sent CVs to Formula 1 teams and tried to fill out applications and kept an eye on the motorsports jobs market. So It's not like I haven't tried. Life is so unfair. I am very jealous of those young people who are going to be handed my dream job and I'm not ashamed to admit it.

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

The Evolution of the Formula 1 Team (II)

A follow on from my previous post.
Previously I spoke of how the current AMG Mercedes F1 team evolved from the Tyrrell team and the modern Lotus team evolved from the Toleman team. I would just like to say again that I'm writing from memory rather than reference, so forgive me if I'm not 100% accurate. This time I would like to outline how the Scuderia Torro Rosso and Force India evolved from 2 former teams.
Some time around the 1980s, if memory serves me correctly, an Italian Formula 1 team called Minardi was formed. They were always minnows. But always managed to turn up year after year when bigger teams such as Brabham and Lotus eventullay folded. They never won races and always seemed to be bringing up the rear. Even a Ferrari engine deal in the 1990s didn't push them as far up the grid as one would expect. So points to Minardi were like podiums to mid-grid teams. But it was a good proving ground for the likes of Giancarlo Fisichella and Fernando Alonso who made their respective debuts with the team. In the early 2000s Australian Paul Stoddart took over the team and it became European Minardi, named after Stoddart's European Airlines I suspect. A noticeable result for European Minardi was Mark Webber's impressive 5th place debut in his and Stoddart's home Grand Prix. But it was to prove a one-off and Minardi were soon back in their usual positions at the back end of the grid. Stoddart seemed to be constantly at odds with the FIA and eventually sold the team to Red Bull when rules governing the running of junior teams were relaxed. Red Bull had it's own works team and European Minardi became Scuderia Torro Rosso. It made better progress up the grid under Red bull ownership and with Gerhard Berger as team principal, took it's first pole and first win at a rainy Monza in September 2008. Sebastian Vettel was the driver in the winning car that weekend. Eventually Vettel was promoted to the works team and the conveyor of Red Bull young driver talent was blooded in the team. But just as they seemed to be making more and more progress and coming closer to further podiums with Sebastien Buemi and Jaimie Algersuari, Red Bull decided to continue with it's development driver program and dropped Buemi and Algersuari for debutant Jean-Eric Vergne and Daniel Ricciardo moving from HRT. So their push for the front has been halted by driver development programs, but it is now, effectively, being run as an independent team under current regulations. That is how Minardi evolved into Scuderia Torro Rosso.
In 1990, after success in the lower formulas, Irishman Eddie Jordan set up a Formula 1 team. They made their race debut at Phoenix Arizona in the opening Grand Prix of 1991 with green 7up livery. Bertrand Gachot and Andrea de Cesaris were the drivers. They scored their first points with a double points finish in Canada that year. Gachot got himself arrested for assaulting a taxi driver and Jordan needed a replacement for the Belgium Grand Prix at Spa. Michael Schumacher made his debut in F1. He qualified well but did not last a single lap of the race with a burned out clutch. In the same race de Cesaris could have finished 2nd but for (correct me if I'm wrong) a gearbox failure near the end. Schumacher impressed enough to be whisked away to Benetton for the very next race with Roberto Moreno swapping to Jordan to soften the blow. They finished an impressive 5th in the constructors in their debut year. The following year was not so good under yamaha power. The yamahas were ditched in favour of Hart engines and in 1994 Rubens Barrichello took the team's first podium in Japan and first pole in Spa. They had a works Peugeot engine deal from 1995 and took a double podium in Canada. In 1997 they finally had a package together that could potentially win races. But rookies Ralf Schumacher and Giancarlo Fisichella's tempestuous relationship after a collision in Argentina overshadowed things a bit that year. The team scored podiums in Argentina and Canada and Fisichella came close to victory in Germany but a puncture ruined his race. Fisichella went to Benetton the following year and Damon Hill replaced him. Alain prost got Peugeots for his team and  Jordan switched to Mugen-Honda. Jordan had their best year to date with Hill taking their first victory at Spa and Schumacher following him home in 2nd. Then Schumacher left to join Williams and was replaced by Heinz-Harald Frentzen for 1999. Frentzen took victories at France (with a fractured leg) in the rain and a bone dry Monza after Hakkinen made a mistake and spun off. Jordan was always known as a talent spotter and in the opening race of the '99 season RTE pit lane reporter Declan Quigley saw it as "a victory for the Jordan school of excellence" because all points scorers in that race had either raced or tested for Jordan at some stage in their career. Frentzen led the Jordan team to third in both the Drivers and Constructors championships that year. A joint works Honda engine deal with BAR was worked out for 2000 and the team went for a revolutionary rather than evolutionary car with the EJ10. Jarno Trulli often qualified well in the car but sometimes complained that reliability issues meant he had to nurse the car to the finish line which cost them points. The Honda deal was under threat from 2001 and Eddie Jordan took on Japanese driver Takumo Sato Mid season in 2002 (I think) to please Honda.. The fans at the German Grand Prix expressed their anger at Jordan for axing Frentzen. The Honda deal was lost anyway and Cosworth and Toyota engines had to be bought, putting financial pressure on the team. They had one more fortuitous victory at Brazil in 2003 when a crash brought out the red flag. The race was initially awarded to Raikkonen, but Fisichella (returning to Jordan that year) was found to be leading at the end of the lap before the red flag. He was awarded the trophy in a ceremony before the following San Marino Grand prix. It was to be Jordan's final victory. Eddie Jordan sold the team to the Midland Group at the end of the following year. They had one final year as Jordan in 2005 and Tiago Montiero took their final podium at Indianapolis when all the Michelin teams pulled out before the start due to safety concerns. Only the 6 Bridgestone-shod cars started the race. Midland changed the name of the Team to MF1 the following year. A lack of investment meant little success. Spyker then took over the team and were also a back of the grid team. Eventually Indian Vijay Mallya took over the team and changed the name to Force India. Fisichella returned for a third term at the team that was once Jordan. They have managed some of the success of the old Jordan team and are strong in mid grid with current drivers Paul Di Resta and Nico Hulkenburg. They share some technology with McLaren and have Mercedes Engines which makes them a strong prospect in future. So that is how the old Jordan team evolved into Force India.
Whether you believe in evolution and reincarnation or not in nature and everyday life, it certainly can happen with the right business deals and personnel in place in Formula1.
I hope you enjoyed reading my 2-part synopsis of the evolution of some of Formula 1's well known teams as much as I enjoyed writing it.

Monday, 8 October 2012

The Evolution of the Formula 1 Team

Use(ful/less) Formula 1 information.
I'm writing this information from memory so forgive me if it is not 100% correct. I was writing a bit of  this on my facebook page and decided to do a blog about the evolution of Formula 1 teams.
Towards the end of the 1960s Ken Tyrell ran privately entered Matra and March Formula 1 cars with Jackie Stewart in the cockpit. Jackie Stewart won the drivers world championship in 1969 in a Matra entered by Ken Tyrell. It was powered by a Cosworth DFV engine. Matra wanted to run their own engine program and so Ken Tyrrell, having a lot more faith in Ford Cosworth, decided to run his own team. Tyrrell won the double, Drivers and Constructors, in 1971. It turned out to be Tyrell's one and only Constructors championship win with Jackie Stewart taking his 2nd Drivers title. Stewart's final title came in 1973 for Tyrrell and he retired at the end of the season. Tyrrell stayed in Formula 1 and sold his team to British American Tobacco around 1997. It had one more season as Tyrrell in 1998 before changing it's name to British American Racing. From 1999 it had former world champion Jacques Villeneuve at the wheel. They never won a Championship with him. Eventually Honda and Jenson Button came on stream. As car manufacturers started to invest more in the sport of Formula 1 racing, Honda invested enough that they were able to take over and eventually rename the team. So BAR became BAR Honda and eventually just Honda. In 2008 economic conditions were in decline and Honda had "My Earth Dream" logo on it's cars, without any major sponsors. It decided to pull out of the sport altogether before the 2009 season as a result. The cars were essentially already built, such was the lateness of Honda's withdrawal. Former Ferrari man Ross Brawn took over the team and they bacame the Brawn Formula 1 team. They decided to modify the back of the cars so that Mercedes engines could be put in them. This wasn't the only thing about the back. They exploited a loophole in new diffuser regulations to give their car better downforce, and so better cornering speeds. This was already done while Honda were still involved. So with experienced campaigners Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello, they took their 1 and only Drivers (Button) and Constructors Championship. Brawn subsequently sold the team to Mercedes who dropped the Brawn name. With Button gone to McLaren, Michael Schumacher was coaxed out of retirement and Nico Rosberg replaced Barrichello. Mercedes eventually added its AMG brand to the team and that is how the current Mercedes evolved from Tyrrell.
In 1984 a certain Ayrton Senna made his Formula1 debut with the Toleman team. He almost won the rain-soaked Monaco Grand Prix that year but it was Red Flagged early due to the conditions and Alain Prost was awarded it. Senna went to Lotus the following year and eventually Benetton took over Toleman. They won races with the likes of Gerhard Berger and Nelson Piquet. But they did not taste World Championship success until Michael Schumacher took the drivers titles in 1994 and '95. They had Ford power in '94 and won the Constructors in '95 with Renault power. Renault pulled out of Formula 1 in 1998 but continued selling engines to Formula 1 teams. Eventually  they returned as an official engine supplier and invested back in the Benetton team. They invested enough to change the name to Renault after that and won titles in 2005 and 2006 with Fernando Alonso. Alonso left for Mclaren and returned after a year and left again to join Ferrari but apart from the odd race win, no more titles came and Renault again pulled out. The Renault name stayed with the team for a couple of more years. In the meantime a  team owned by Malaysian Tony Fernandes started a new Lotus team. The rights to the name and the road car company were under different ownership and Fernandes bought the Lotus name. The owners of the Lotus car manufacturers had invested in the current Renault formula 1 team and wanted to have Lotus as their team name as well. After lots of legal wrangling Lotus changed it's name to Caterham and the former Renault team now took over the Lotus name. Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean are the current drivers, both returning to Formula 1 after absence. That is how the modern Lotus team evolved from the original Toleman team, which Senna left to join the original Lotus team ironically...!.
I'll do something similar with Minardi and Jordan in the future.

Friday, 5 October 2012

My New Glasses

These are my new glasses. I got them in optical express. To be honest, they were a lot more expensive than I would have liked. I went for an eye test just under 2 weeks ago as much to check the health of the eyes as to replace my old glasses which had flaws in the lenses. My perscription had changed a bit as well. They confused my eyes a bit because of the right needing to be a bit more adjusted than the left. I'm wearing them now as I write this and there is that slight strain of a new perscription lens, but I need to get used to them. I'll keep the old ones as spares for an emergency. The old ones didn't have the focal point of the lens centred correctly to my eyes. But I got used to them and have them 2 years. The other thing when I first started wearing the old ones was the frames dug into the side of my head behind my ears and had to go back to specsavers to have them stretched out to relieve that. The new frames felt comfortable instantly when I tried them on today in optical express. The only issue will be getting used to the new lens strength and differently (hopefully better) centred focal points.
I like the new spectacles so far. But I don't expect to go to that much expense again. I won't say how much they were but they were too expensive. So I'll shop around and price lenses before committing to an optician when my next eye test is due.

Friday, 28 September 2012

Latest Progress in Job Hunting

I follow Force India Formula 1 team on twitter. They tweeted a link to their new jobs section on their website. I had a look and there was a machinist position advertised. I have a certain level of CNC machining experience. Part of the job description involved working with Heidenhain programming. While I have not used it in a working environment, I am familiar with it trough my training in Computer-aided Engineering and I have a Heidenhain progamming manual saved in a pdf file on a memory stick and in google drive - which I can access on my android phone. So I clicked on the "Apply" link and started to fill out the pdf application form. That's when things started to go wrong. I ticked the submit box and nothing happened. I clicked on save and it saved to my computer.There was no upload link that I could see. When I printed, some of the details were in the wrong boxes and the tick marks were in open space. So I tore it up and binned it. I filled out the form through my phone using the adobe app and signed it and saved to google drive. Then I checked the site again was still unable to find an upload link or button. Not even an email address. I would have printed and posted but the closing date is Sunday, which meant the closing date would be already gone by the time it leaves Ireland. I wish they had an upload button where you could submit application forms and CVs and cover letters. At least it would have got me noticed. Maybe even got me considered for an entry level position which I would gladly accept just to get my foot in the door. But now I'm left disappointed because it's a job I could have learned and built up to if my level of expertise wasn't quite where they required. So now I'm left disappointed.
This setback only spurred me on to check the job sections of other F1 teams' websites. I submitted my name in another team's website. But I registered through facebook months ago and I'm not too keen on mixing business with facebook. It also means they have to ask me for a copy of my latest CV. My facebook page is not something to inspire potential employers to hire me. It's a place for family, friends and entertainment only.
While I'm between jobs I would like to do a Fás course simply because it would fill a gap in my CV and I'd be better off than the dole financially. But there is a waiting list for what is suitable and those don't start for a few months. I have a meeting on Tuesday with Waterford Employment Services to discuss course options.
I recently gave my CV to a local recruitment agency as well. They had a job in Dublin in mind for me but I got a call from them today to say that the company in Dublin is not interested in me. It's the old catch 22. Can't get a job due to lack of experience. Can't get experience because I can't get a job. I wish a company would take me on and give me proper training and experience in programming. I can program CNC machines. I just need experience to build up confidence, competence and versatility required by companies.
This was as much of a rant to vent frustration at companies lack of faith in me as it was an update on my progress.

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Shift Pattern

I had something on my mind for a while and I was trying to visualise it. That was what type of shift pattern I'd use if I ran my own CNC machining business. Well I went on the computer today and opened a spreadsheet to try and see how my system would work. The printed page in the photo is what I came up with. As with any "continental" shift, it's not perfect. But when running smoothly the system has more machining hours than a 5-day 3-cycle shift pattern and runs 7 days per week. The system I did is a 5-cycle system where each machinist averages 30hrs per week, thus possibly reducing the cost of man hours from 39+shift per machinist, but increasing machining time from 117hrs/wk of a 5-day 3-cycle to 153hrs/wk of my system. I have the remaining 15hrs factored in for maintenance and have an extra panel on the side for the hours that the maintenance technicians work, which allows for them to carry out machine maintenance during this down time. There are other details I didn't go into here but can be allowed for. I just wanted to get an idea of how the basic shift pattern would work. Hope someone finds this blog post interesting.
Here's how I worked it out. If you have 3 operatives doing a 39hr week with each doing 6hrs overtime at time and a half one out of every 3 Saturdays that gives you a wage bill of €507 x 3operatives for Mon. to Fri.coming to €1521 plus 1 operative doing 6hrs x 1.5 for overtime on Saturday coming to €90 gives a total wage bill of €1611 per week for 123hrs. That averages out at €13.10 per hr per week to the nearest cent. Now if you take my 5-cycle system and pay operatives €10 per hr and even give them x 1.3 shift to entice people to take the job. Paying them for the average weekly hours worked so that they get the same pay every week means they get €300 x 1.3 shift. That gives a total wage bill of  €390 x 5 operatives = €1950 for 153hrs. That averages out at €12.75 per hour per week to the nearest cent. So overall my 5-cycle system would work out better if a company could implement it because it's averaging less cost per hour on wages but getting more production hours every week. In a high pressure working environment that would feel like an impossible maths problem for me. But when I'm in the comfort of my armchair and have the time to logically work things out, I can put my mind to it and complete the task.

Sunday, 19 August 2012

Dr. Nick's Surgery Leaflet

"Hi everybody!" "Hi Dr. Nick!" You can just imagine the scenario from looking at this photo. Dr. Nick of The Simpsons fame thinks surgery is so easy that even a child could do it with the right instructions. So he releases "Dr. Nick's Simply Surgery" instruction leaflet. There's always one that will get his 10 year old child to try it!
#disclaimer: this is merely a humourous passage that the blogger thought would go well with the photo. Please do not attempt surgery at home.

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Only a passing interest

I have a question for people like me who only have a passing interest in soccer and are not major fans. Did the English Priemiership start too soon after the Olympics? After the European Championships already this summer and the great London games it's hard to maintain an interest at that level in any other sport. We need a break from high level sport for a while. What do you think? You can comment opinions here or give me your opinion on twitter.

Saturday, 11 August 2012

Mazak Super Quick Turn 200MSY

See New Job blog posted earlier. This is the machine in action.

Thursday, 9 August 2012

Katie Taylor

She's so brilliant! She was happily chatting with her worthy opponent in the final - Ochigava, after the medal ceremony. So grounded. Congratulations must also go to her Dad and trainer Peter. Hopefully it'll spur on our other boxers fighting for medals. It was a very tactical victory and a scrappy last round. But thankfully the result went as expected. Congratulations Katie. But before I sign off I must mention Cian O'Conner. He took a well deserved bronze in the showjumping.

Monday, 23 July 2012

Telefonica Crew

The Telefonica crew loading some equipment on to their boat in Galway a couple of days after the finish.

Volvo Ocean Race Trophy

The trophy for the great sailing race. This was taken at this years finish in Galway.

Monday, 2 July 2012

New Job

This is a Mazak Super Quickturn 200 MSY CNC turning centre. It has live tooling and a Y-axis. It has a Mazatrol 640t controller. It is the machine I work with in my new job. I also do some limited operating on a Hurco CNC milling machine, but that's just basically loading and unloading parts and pressing "cycle start". The bulk of my work involves the turning. It's only a temporary position but it's a job. I work the weekend shift, Friday to Sunday, 3 x 12hrs. I prefer it to a Monday to Friday job and it's definitely better than nights. I don't know if there will be any further work once the stuff I was hired for is finished. Unlikely, but at least I have a chance of a call back in the future if he gets a new machine in and further work. Plus it's experience I can add to my C.V. anyway.

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Job Interview

So I went to Shannon for a job interview on Friday. As with most interviews, it seemed to go well but there was one part I could have done better in and maybe projected a little more confidence in that situation. In terms of what he's looking for, I do have a certain level of experience. He has a Mazak turning centre which uses a Mazatrol 640 controller. The Mazak Integrex I worked with in my previous job had the more modern Mazatrol 640mt pro controller and the tool turret was different. But I should be able to adapt. I recognised one of the guys working there. He did the same computer-aided engineering course that I did. So that also gives me confidence that my level of qualifications and experience are up to the requirements of the job. I've been out of work for 3 months though and that means I'm a bit rusty and it does put a dent in my confidence. I need to have more faith in my own ability. The programme is a Mazatrol CNC programme (conversational).

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

2 Hotels

This is the view from my apartment. Thankfully it's not like that today. This photo was taken on a day of particularly heavy rain. The building to the right is Dooley's hotel. The building on the hill in the distance is what I'm told used to be a hotel. Never been up there. Just a little snippet of boring Waterford.

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Trying to post from my current mobile

So I downloaded the new android application for blogger for my phone. Trying it out now. The next thing will be sharing the link on twitter. I wonder how that'll work out?

Monday, 11 June 2012

Deleted previous post

I deleted my previous blog post. For those of you who didn't see it, it was a warning of the dangers of uploading files from a public computer and not deleting them from the public computer when finished. I had never intended to keep the post because it featured a borrowed photo. This is just to clarify that it has been deleted. Happy surfing people! ie. surfing the interweb thingamyjig!

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Driving, Medical and Jobseeking

I must get photos up here with blog posts again. Went for a driving lesson Monday. The guy said I did well and he made me feel relaxed. He said he reckons he can push me and gear me towards the test. I felt myself tensing up around traffic and people. Stopping and starting is the most difficult. Changing gear is trickier than expected. But all in all it went well. Not bad for a 1st lesson. It's kind of hard to see and be aware of your surroundings when reversing though. Practice makes perfect I suppose.
Went to the doctor yesterday and she gave me antibiotics for a chest infection. Don't know how I could have got it but whatever it was spread from my sinuses. Read the leaflet with the tablets because I always like to know if there are any possible side effects. One potential side effect could be dizziness. I might not take one before my driving lesson tomorrow as a result.
Got a call this morning from a guy who got my number from linkedin. That site works - who knew?! I certainly entertained thoughts of giving it up before. It was so out of the blue (the call) that I feel a bit unprepared if I have to go for an interview. I know what I must do to be prepared. I must do what I said I'd do regarding studying my cnc notes and checking out what companies have and what they do with it. Anyway this guy that called suggested putting myself out there as a private limited contractor, or something like that. But that involves doing my own tax and PRSI. I'm not prepared to do that. The PAYE method suits me fine at the moment. If I had a car and enough experience I'd try the PLC route. But it's not practical for me at the moment. It would also make going back on social welfare between contracts more complicated. That's my thinking anyway. I got a letter from a company in Middleton, Cork that interviewed me. I knew it was bad news once I got a letter. Such a pity. I'll keep trying.
I just used google feedback to suggest fixing it so that bloggers in Ireland can post from mobile phones.
That's all for now. I hope to put photos in posts again in the future.

Saturday, 26 May 2012

Haven't posted in a while.

Haven't posted in a while so I decided to post just to keep some activity going. First of all my girlfriend and I split up. She asked me not to put her name or any images of her on this blog so I won't. I made a promise to her and quickly forgot about that promise so I wasn't able to keep it. Also, I wasn't able to put the same effort into the relationship as she was. We were not very compatible anyway but I'm grateful that she at least gave me a chance. I learned a bit about myself - not all good unfortunately - from that relationship. I wasn't as ready for a relationship as I thought I was. But we are still friendly.
The job search isn't going too well. I got one interview last month and no follow up. I was looking into Canada but finances mean I have one opportunity left, and if nothing comes from that I'll give up on it unless I get temporary employment before the end of this year. The UK and an English-speaking job in Europe are still options if an opportunity presents itself. I could also consider internships through the Job-Bridge program if I get a CNC related position or similar. That would be nice if I can't get any proper employment in the mean time because it would get me training and experience that I still seem to be lacking. I might look into a complete change in career. I have ideas for that but limited options. We'll see how things pan out.
Another way of making myself more employable is going for a driving licence almost 20 years after I became the age to apply. It was one of those things that I kept procrastinating. I finally arranged driving lessons yesterday and I start Monday morning. That will open up opportunities for me beyond factory work... I hope! I checked my learner permit as well and it expires October of this year so I have to take lessons before it's too late. I've driven tractors and forklifts before, so it should give me a good basis from which to start. But the things that I'm most anxious about when it comes to learning to drive a car are: a) maintaining concentration, b) being aware enough of my surroundings and, to a lesser extent, c) having the coordination for the gear changes. The guy that's going to be teaching me is fully registered with D.I.R. Ireland and the Road Safety Authority and his driving school claims to have a good pass rate for the driving test on it's website. So hopefully I made the right choice.
I should post more regularly and I'll try to. I might do a few on the jobseeking progress. That reminds me... I must study my Computer-aided Engineering notes from FAS and research what companies have what CNC machines and CAD/CAM software in order to keep abreast of requirements of potential jobs. That way I can have a good knowledge base from which to start from when I eventually return to the workforce. Right! I'll leave it there for now. I'm sure those of you reading this have better things to be doing. Keep checking back for new posts!

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

My niece's Communion

We all had a nice day at my niece's communion. I brought my girlfriend along. She was a bit nervous about meeting the family but after meeting them she said they were all very nice people. We went to the church 1st. Part of the ceremony involves taking up gifts, for those of you non-Catholics reading this. My niece had a part to play in this. Something I did for my communion also. After that it was back to my sister's for tea and cake. It was a nice little bit of a party. There was a day out at Bunratty castle in Co. Clare after that. My girlfriend and I went to see a different castle. My brother took us to Carrigafoyle and Lislaughtin Abbey as part of a tour around the village and parish of Ballylongford for the benefit of my girlfriend. Then his partner gave us a wonderful dinner which we enjoyed in the company of them and their children. Oh! we watched the FA Cup final between Chelsea and Liverpool there as well. My brother and I were supporting Liverpool while my girlfriend wanted Chelsea to win. So she was happiest after the match. I visited my sister again before bed that night. An enjoyable day was had by all.

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Social Welfare, Medical Card and Jobs

My Social Welfare came through today. I got backpay due since January bar 3 weeks in February and March that I was working. But I'll have to be careful with it until/unless I get a job because my outgoings will be more than my income. I had to go to the Social Welfare office first because I needed a replacement card. They gave me a temporary one and I presented it at the post office with photo i.d. to collect the payment. After getting that I went to the HSE office with my medical card form and the lady there was very helpful. She ensured I had all my documentation correct and even gave me an envelope with a sticker attached that had the postal address on it. But I had to post it myself. All medical card applications for the country are processed in a single office in Dublin now, I'm told. Then I had to come here to apply for a CNC Machinist job I spotted in a magazine. So that was what I got up to today. I must investigate the possibility of uploading pics and posting blogs from my phone as I'm here.

Would like to post from phone

Haven't posted anything to this in a while so I thought I'd make use of it. I would love it if I could get it to upload from my phone like the old Sony Ericssons. Google should do something for uploading from android phones anwhere in the world. I must investigate further.

Friday, 10 February 2012

Healthier Eating

It's my intention to alter my diet and eating habits. Not for any major health reasons really. Just trying to eat in a way that costs less. You see I have been lazy in recent weeks when it comes to cooking. Putting so much energy into job hunting and emailing companies and sorting out social welfare and exploring the possibility of looking for work visas for beyond the EU has meant I just want to go to places like subway and supermac's for dinner and also plonk myself in front of the tv with food that takes little or no preparation in the evening. So, apart from subway and breakfast, I'm eating a lot of  processed and junk foods. But my social welfare hasn't come through yet and what money I have will last a finite amount of time. So if it happens that I don't find a job before my savings run out, even on social welfare, I'll have very little to live on after my rent is paid. So I have to try and come up with a reasonable food budget now so that I'm prepared for that eventuality. The plan is to stick with my regular breakfast: cereal, toast with marmalade or jam and tea. I have a plan in mind that will mean I eat moderate portions 4 to 5 times a day. That way their isn't too much time between meals so I shouldn't be too hungry. I can have fruit and tea as a late morning/early afternoon snack. Lunch can be a roll with mayonnaise, meat, tomatos and salad. Dinner can be mixed vegetables boiled in a pot. I'll try to include chicken or fish with dinner when I can afford it. I reckon I could keep myself reasonably fed on that plan. It will mean no more going to Kylemore Cafe for my Sunday dinner though. I'll miss that treat. But I'll try the plan starting next week and see how the budget works out. I'll try to buy the food for the week in one go. At least the stuff that won't go off in less than a week anyway. If I do it right I could have a food budget of less than 40 Euro per week. Whatever I have left after rent could go towards unexpected necessities, cleaning products and travel expenses for going to job interviews. That brings me back to my means of applying for jobs - email! I'll have to cut down my internet cafe visits to one a week if I have to depend on social welfare for income. But hopefully I'll have a job soon and won't have to worry. But it's good to have a plan in place. I think I'll stick to the new eating plan even when I get a job. The savings could mean indulging in life's little luxuries.