Tuesday, December 27, 2011


As I find myself writing this some two days before Christmas I almost have to snigger to myself about the distinct lack of money I now have despite only being paid yesterday. I can blame no one but myself for taking this job which meant that I actually lost money when compared to my previous unemployed situation. So far I have paid off the following:

-      -    Over limit on my credit card (Eeeep!)
-      -    Missed payments on my landline
-      -    Electricity for the next two week (metered)

That bit of financial mismanagement has left me with the following still to deal with:
-         - Council tax
-          - Two months’ rent (thankfully with some housing benefit against it)
-          - Broadband missed direct debits

Ah the financial independence that comes along with being employed NOT. In reality I am much worse off than when I was claiming job seekers allowance and getting most of my rent paid by housing benefit. The search for work will begin continue on with a passion in January (right after this evil cold and raw nose go bye bye) but this time I will be going into that search a little wiser and less desperate with real experience of what it means to be on the other side of things. There will be some restrictions in place, including but not limited to the following:

·         The role must be 30hrs a week or more
If there is significant commuting involved then special attention must be made to the cost of that travel against the wages

Now you might look at the above and think those are the only two restrictions and should not cut down on opportunities but in practice they can and do. For instance the 30hrs, first it is the minimum requirement to apply for tax credits to boost your income to a level where you might actually get some piece of mind and not worry about the debt collectors beating down your door. The second reason is that 30 hours should mean that the loss of housing benefit will be covered by the new wages that are now being brought in.

The commuting point is an important one because you would be surprised by how a job with seemingly decent pay will actually cost you more money once you start doing the math (illustrated below) plus there is a nasty 5.9% rise in the cost of train fares incoming in the near year which won’t help the situation.
Council Tax + Full Rent + Monthly Travel Costs
You will find that it often matches or sometimes overtakes the amount of money you would earn a year BEFORE costs like:
o   Food
o   Electricity
o   Landline (broadband requirement)
o   Broadband
o   Mobile phone
Once you factor in those you will find yourself looking closer to home which if you live in an area like mine (one of the most deprived in the county) you may find that to be a significant problem

Monday, December 12, 2011

World of Warcraft - ENFORCED VACATION

So 4.3 finally dropped and I'm left out in the cold due to financial difficulties. Totally sucks but I have been spending some time looking at the usual information and gold making sites finding out information. Of course a lot of information was available pre-patch day but such things are often subject to change like prices and what not. Also I was looking forward to finishing up the levelling process on my new Death Knight.

If you guys didn't know I had decided to try moving from my current realm to a new one Auchindoun EU. My current realm which has never been the highest quality but it has suffered badly since the Wrath hangover which resulted in a lot of the hardcore raid guilds transferring away and everything just going to hell in a hand basket. Add to that all the friends I had made since starting WoW have all gone off to different servers or left World of Warcraft altogether.

Unfortunately I won't be getting back to WoW until Christmas Eve at the earliest but then it will be an all out race to get to 85 and then establish myself on the new realm hopefully doing things like sorting out my own guild bank and generally starting to show my goblin side and amass some gold, I managed 30k on my old realm but that was after a lot of alts allowing access to all professions so I don't know what sort of goal I should set for say the beginning of February but you might see that if a new post later in if I remember. The next gold goal though is the 4.5k or whatever it is for 310% speed on my DK.

How has your Patch 4.3 been?  Is it the beginning of the end or just a taster of awesomeness to come. Comments welcome.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

TV & FILM - Now For Something A Little Different

As a kid who didn't love martial arts films? I know I did back in Antigua a highlight was heading into town to catch a martial arts double feature in the afternoon showing, usually featuring Jet Li and his awesome bicycle kick. Recently as I head to the end of my job and also because it is that time of year again Winter so I go out even less than usual and American TV is slowing down until February/March I decided to do some research (i.e. Googling) to find some inspiration on things to watch in my down time.

Yes I am aware I probably watch too much TV but I also like to ensure I sit down either with a book or audiobook for my commuting or when I head to bed so I am not just always vegging out in front of the monitor.Back on subject now I looked up some martial arts films that I might want to catch up on and also had a look around for an Asian TV show that might be worth picking up. I for one have no problem watching 3-4 episodes of a good show a day if it is in fact worth watching. I came up with Legend of the Fist, a martial arts film and Athena a South Korean Action show. On further looking into Athena it seems to be a sequel to an earlier show so I decided to opt for that instead the name of that show being Iris.


A solid martial arts film starring Donnie Yen. I didn't really know who he was until I looked him up quite an impressive CV though very reminiscent of Jet Li I guess he is in the following generation of Martial Arts Action Stars. The 20s setting with all its glamour is presenting well here and very entertaining. Even on the other side of the elaborate and excellent action scene set pieces the story moves along well and keeps you entertained. I can definitely recommend this film to fans of high kicking and the actual martial art scenes are nearly all tight and extremely well choreographed.

IRIS (Korean TV)

The most expensive Korean made TV show of the time and a huge hit there and in Japan, Iris is the story of two friends from the Korean Army recruited into a clandestine government agency. I've only caught the first episode but it has me pretty much sold. You could compare it to shows like 24 but the plot is different focusing more on the main characters than say a terrorist threat. As long as you don't mind subtitles if you like spy stuff then give it a try.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

General Entertainment Roundup

This time of the year from around the middle of November until February or even later in some cases when US TV in particular goes into a form of recess. The mid-season break as they call it when all the shows close down for winter, all the fun stuff Vampire Diaries, Nikita, Secret Circle (pretty meh), Chuck and Glee (though it does have a lot of other breaks). I am taking this time to discuss what has really impressed me as now I have time as there isn't half a dozen TV shows queued up for me to check out and absorb. The stand out show which I ended up coming pretty late to is what I will be talking about first then to a manga and then maybe squeeze in a film or two.

The break out hit so far it seems. First heard about it properly from Cash Peters but was hearing things here and there. It is a re-imagining of the Count of Monte Cristo with a young damaged girl taking over the lead. Just a great and gripping show that at first you might think is a little dry but give it time it will grow on you.

Ichigo 100% (You might know it as Strawberry 100 or 100%) is the story of a high schooler with both hopeless luck with women and an uncanny knack to attract the interests of them. The manga follows his hilarious misadventures and the trouble he gets into along with introducing a host of characters that are his friends and some his would be lovers. It is a frustrating read though I will warn you as time after time you think to yourself why is this guy that stupid or why can he not just come out and say he likes one girl or another but I find solace in the other stories within the manga such as the growth of the female love interests or just the school based stuff. I would recommend it as a good read, beware it has over 100 issues to get through until the end.

It has been maybe a couple of years since I have watched any Bollywood films I tried to get back into them but I generally tend to look around for the more action ones. So when one came around about a superhero I figured it would be worth a watch. Ra One is an interesting premise it is a superhero movie but in the same way that say Hancock  is a superhero film, with a lot of comedy thrown in.

I liked it sure the comedy was a bit over the top but you learn to accept that with Bollywood films. The actresses as always are stunningly beautiful I really liked Sara I think it was one of the fellow programmers that worked on the Ra One game but unfortunately she did not make it into the second half of the film when the location changes.

Overall Ra One is a good film but not the total package that films like Dhoom 2 or Don the remake were in my view.