Sunday, 24 March 2013

A spring in my step

It might be a rather cool 0 degrees at the moment, it might feel a lot colder than that...but I don't care. It's springtime. Or at least, it is in terms of calendar. Then again, the sunshine is currently coming through my window and leaving a rather forgotten feeling of warmth. I've missed the sunshine...and the last few months haven't had much sun. 

It looks as though the worst of the cold weather is behind us and what is left of the snow is going to start melting and disappearing in the next few days...about time too. For what feels like an eternity, every day has had at least a sprinkling of snow. So the snow never fully melts (not that it would anyway) and you very quickly learn where the icy deathtraps are within daily life. For example, I know not be too careless on the two minute walk from the bus stop to the office through fear of falling flat on my face in front of people I work with and having to try and give the impression that I've only bruised my pride. 

Work is a mixture of ups and downs at the moment. There's nothing bad as such, but there can be days where there isn't a lot for me to do and I end up doing slightly trivial tasks for the sake of keeping busy at times. On the plus, it's meant that I've been getting more phone calls and emails from people outside of our little Finance corner asking me to investigate certain things and look up information about various aspects of the business for reports and conferences and the like. As a negative...well, I don't really think there is a negative. I'm still working and I'm still enjoying my time at work. It seems crazy that I'm over half way through the placement and there are just five months left on my contract before I pack up and head back to England. Where has the time gone?

There's a bit of a spring to my step at the moment. While I've fallen behind on listening to podcasts a bit and one or two have fallen by the wayside (sorry Bone Zone, you're no longer a must-listen to me), I've really picked up on the music again. Having sorted my music library out, I realised I had a couple of Lynyrd Skynyrd albums that had gone unlistened as well as a host of other bits and pieces that I hadn't listened to for a few years. Having stuck their music on after work on Friday, I think Skynyrd might be an ideal choice for the Friday afternoon walk home from work. At the moment, I've got a fantastic selection of 80s pop music playing (thank you Rachel for sending me that link). I've got a smile back on my face and 2013 continues to be a better year than 2012.

I started writing again, which has been something missing from my life for the last few months. Whether it's writing down those silly little stories that I come up with (which, it seemingly turns out, are brilliant at helping people sleep) or returning to writing down those little ideas for jokes that I get throughout the course of my day, I've been scribbling something down most days. Maybe it'll all just sit in a folder on my laptop to never be seen or used...maybe I'll find a way of using some of it in life.

I guess I have just one complaint and grumble about my life at the moment, and it's the lack of sleep. I's the same old story as always, and this can't have been the first time I've complained about a lack of sleep on this blog. It's getting pretty bad now though. I make jokes about never sleeping and not needing sleep, but that'll only get me so far before I eventually lose the plot completely and throw my computer out of the window at work (or fall asleep...I'm not sure which would land me in more trouble to be honest). Despite knowing that I'm having trouble sleeping and changing my pattern slightly to go to bed earlier in an attempt to counter this problem, I still find myself spending most nights getting no more than four or five hours at the very most. I'm sure that's not healthy...

At least when I'm sleeping, I'm getting some fantastic dreams. So it's not all bad. For the times when I'm lying in bed awake? I started reading a couple of really interesting books which can provide some interesting food for thought. I'd always heard Duncan Trussell talking about the Bhagavad Gita so decided to give that a read to see what it was all about (and so far, it's a cracking read, though a little difficult to fully get to grips with if not paying full concentration) and I've been working my way through a collection of books about the origins and history of cricket for a slightly lighter read. Reading is definitely helping matters. If I can't sleep, I may as well read and/or listen to the cricket commentary.

Tiredness kills. So will I if I don't start getting some sleep soon...
(If there are any legal type people out there, I don't mean this. I won't be killing people. Honest.)

Things can only get better. They're pretty good as it stands, but there's always room for improvement. 

Monday, 4 March 2013

Catching my breath

It's Monday evening, about 6pm. This is my first real chance to sit down, compose some thoughts and have some time to myself in about a week. My brother's on his flight back to England and I'm tucking into the packet of chocolate Hobnobs that he brought over (other biscuits are available, but they're just not as amazing). My rest is just about over and tomorrow, it'll be back to the normal routine and business as usual.

I've had a few days off work since my brother came over to Germany, partially to see me, but the main purpose of the trip was to go down to Oberhausen for the wXw 16 Carat weekend. I know that we're only two months into the year, but they feel as though they've been two really intense months at work and I hadn't taken any time off since Christmas. I also had some leftover holiday from 2012, so it made sense to use that to spend some time with Andrew and head down to Oberhausen.

It also gave me the opportunity to use my day off on Thursday to check out the 25 Years of Pixar exhibition at the MKG Hamburg. If you don't know this about me, then you really should...I am a HUGE Pixar fan. Everything about the company fascinates me, from their very very early beginnings with very basic animated shorts all the way through to their feature length films and the current day. Their films have been the background of an entire generation and the Toy Story trilogy...well, I doubt I need to say too much. The exhibition is a celebration of 25 years in the industry with a wide array of original drawings, paintings and moulds from Pixar films. To see the level of detail, even in the early drawings and ideas of characters and scenery is amazing. It was really cool to see character evolvement and progression, especially for films like Monsters. Inc where the main characters of Sullivan, Mike and Boo look nothing like the early drawings for their characters.

Friday came, and it was time to head down to Oberhausen for the tournament. Three packed days of action with 16 guys in the tournament from 8 countries (and plenty of other non-tournament action featuring even more people). Simply fantastic, and I take my hat off to wXw for being able to put on a three day event AND be able to fill the afternoons with really interesting extras. One of the big points for me was being able to watch the Westside Dojo training session led by Tommy End. Even though the session felt really packed and included a lot to push the trainees, Tommy said that the material they covered was maybe 10% of everything they do (a lot of the other 90% being stuff that you just can't show to an outsider), but it was a really cool thing to watch people going through the basics and also getting to hear about why they want to train and become wrestlers. Sometimes, it's the little things that make the biggest differences.

Still, three days and plenty of moments to remember. So that was my break from work. It's been a good little opportunity to check out something that I'm really into and get a few days out of the office, plus I was able to catch up with a couple of Germans I met last time. I can't say it was the most relaxing break ever though...I'm feeling pretty tired, but I'm looking forward to heading back into work tomorrow and getting to work for another busy stretch.

Work is still pretty busy but it's certainly interesting stuff...and it's a hell of a lot better than being bored and having nothing to do with my time. 

For those who have listened to my podcast so far (which you can find at, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. It's only a small small corner in the world of the internet, but it means something to me. With a bit of work and dedication, it might be able to mean something to others in the future. I've only had two 'proper' episodes so far, but they've both had good feedback and signs are encouraging. It's now available to listen to on the website as well as being on iTunes...and should hopefully be up on Stitcher Radio in the next day or two. I've got a couple of interesting guests lined up in the next few weeks and hopefully things will continue from there. 

It's an exciting time. Let's go!