Monthly Archives: June 2010


From the words of Casting Crowns:

Living, He loved me
Dying, He saved me
Buried, He carried my sins far away
Rising, He justified freely forever
One day He’s coming
Oh glorious day,
oh glorious day

(Chorus from Glorious Day (Living He Loved Me) off the Until the Whole World Hears album)

Lion King!

well i thought i should write something about this, been planning this for a little while to make Marie’s first ever theatre show a special one. and i have to say it does live up to its hype and advertising.

Lion King is currently in the Lyceum Theatre, near strand and is based very obviously on the Disney classic with Music written by Elton John and Tim Rice.

i originally thought it was going to be a play with good costumes and good music but i wasnt expecting to be blown away by the whole “Experience” of the Lion KIng, from moment one you are immersed in the show with some of the actors opening the act from some of the VIP boxes – with spectators in them as well and with the some of the animals(not live)/puppets/cast coming in through the stalls and onto stage including a large elephant.

now i mention puppets or animals its not puppets in the strictest sense that you would naturally visualise but what i can only describe as a synergy between masks/costumes and people, so the lions had like a headress/mask the hyenas had similar headdresses etc etc.

my geek side comes out now when i say it truly was a technical spectacle with a stage that rotated, lowered, raised and even the pride rock staircase came out of the floor to a good height as well.

in terms of the performance, it was grand and the show has cast a great balance of holding true to the film and written music yet having some interaction with the audience and some good comic moments. the quality of the acting was top notch and so was the singing too. i really cant pick a favourite character/actor because quite frankly they were all pretty outstanding and really really made the characters come alive. particular mentions are the classic comic duo Timon & Pumbaah and Zazu and Raffiki which were played with a uniqueness that captures the essence of the film characters but still they took on a newer edge which was funnier and more alive than the film could do.

we went on a saturday evening and we managed to get front row of the grand circle (top deck) and the view was quite excellent, we were a touch high but it definitely did not hinder us from seeing any of the action, if anything being that slight bit further away allowed us to take more in because there truly was lots happening at times  and being able to immerse ourselves in the whole thing helped a lot. the theatre was fully packed and all in all it was an excellent show.

i dont think i was very good at reviewing this and i think i was biased but i think my bias is good because you should really go and see experience it!

The British Museum

Spent the day with Marie on saturday, we chose to visit the British Museum because it was free and lots of good stuff in there, i have to admit i am not a huge museum fan, i like to go to places where i really can do something or get my hands on something, however i was more than impressed by it.

it was a huge building and from the outside you perhaps dont think its as big as it is when you get on the inside, there are so many floors and wings and sections, we actually got lost a few times! we started at 10 and gave up with sore feet at around 15:30 we definitely didnt get to see the whole museum – its just too vast i think to see it all in one day. we got to see the bulk of it though, some interesting observations were made, mostly that there just seemed to be a running theme of pots throughout the museum, so we figured that historians and archeologists must have been hungry people! some of the highlights of the visit were rather morbid, the Lindow man rather freaked me out how they just had this dead body on display preserved in all his glory (or lack of) having died sometime near the 30-40BC range, the egyption mummies were a good highlight, and i think that is the same for most other visitors to the museum as it was by far the most busy section of the day, i find it odd that man has this strange obsession with dead people but hey.

there were a wide range of exhibits and rooms but the one that caught my eye and was the most memorable was this small room that was about africa and its colonisation and independance over the last 150-200 years i saw some artwork which really struck me, it was a print where someone had printed a slogan on a mosaic of Zimbabwe currency (in the Hyper inflation stage) with the words, “Its cheaper to print this on money than paper” sadly my only photo of the day doesnt do it justice but none the less it is here for all its glory.

after the Museum a lazy afternoon and evening ensued and good times had by all 🙂 more next time

Student finance shenanigans

just an update on my student life, will get to why the title in a mo. this year i was doing whats called the Professional Pathway (PP) scheme with Uni which meant i did a uni equivalent of a modern apprenticeship – work 4 days study 1 etc. i have to admit initially it was a great thing but it came with its own challenges the biggest of which was time management and particularly with the switch between, work and studies and back again.

one of my biggest problems this year was that because my job involves a lot of first line support there would quite often be urgent issues coming in on a tuesday which was my day when i attended lectures, Tuesday being the offices busiest day never helped either. this often left me the dilemna of do i focus on fixing the work issues or switch off and focus on the lecture material. i have to admit here i let work take the priority more than not, in some situations it was entirely approriate but other times it really could have waited until later that day or the following day, i have been lucky that it didn’t affect me too much

my second issue for which is one of the primary reasons why i am not going to do PP next year (i will be returning back into full time studies in october) was that PP students were still expected to meet the same deadlines as full time students, i raised this issue several times with no resolution but to put it into perspective so that it doesnt sound like a small thing, full time students in second year this year were only attending university 3 days out of 5 a week, this mean if we just rule out a day at uni as busy and only take week days into consideration full time students had 2 free days a week in which they could do personal studies and coursework (now i will admit that i would likely have spent it working part time to combat some of the student loans etc and many students do) a PP student on the other hand spends 1 day at university attending lectures and the other 4 days working by basic maths it works out that full time students have 2 days per week extra time in which to do the work set, when you set the same deadlines that full time students found hard to meet then you can understand how much harder it is for PP students.

this wasnt the main reason i decided to return to full time studies though, the other was that i felt the organisation of the PP course was utterly shambolic, there were times when i asked for help and got nothing, there were several times where said i was unable to do something or meet a deadline due to work related changes meaning i couldnt do my original project proposal and effectively had to start again (1 week before the first deadline was due) i got nothing but an ok, submit an extenuating circumstances form and let us know when you had a proposal, the lecturer ignored my question asking about other alternatives if i couldnt find a new project proposal, let alone my questions about the further deadlines. as a result i was basically ignored, missed the deadlines and was as good as screwed. this was all at a time when i wasnt motivated about uni which did not help at all so it ended up that i will fail the main module from this term. the options for me were to quit uni altogether (i dont want to give up again) repeat the year (if this year was anything to go by it wouldnt solve the problem) or go back into fulltime education, the choice was a logical one to make.

so that leads me on to the post title, because i wont be working fulltime (i may only have odd freelance work and i have to support myself) i need to apply for student loans, went through the process fine no bother and get to the end and am told i can have the maintenance loan but not the tuition fees loan (approx £3300 for 2010/2011) upon querying it i have since found out that students only get full support for the years of there degree plus an extra year (to account for repeats), this shouldnt be a problem for me because my degree was a 3 year one and i had only just completed my second year (it was part time so i have to effectively restart the second year to do the missed modules) so i should be on my 3rd year of support out of a max of 4, i have since been told that they took my first attempt at uni into account as well so i have technically already studied for 3 years. no problems i should get the 4th year of support….

not exactly, the 4th year is always reserved for the final year of studies. which leaves me in a sticky situation and begs the question that i am sure many people who have gotten into similar situations as myself have no doubt asked. if the fees loan is reseved for the final year so i cant get the loan for this current years studies, how do they expect me to even reach my final year?

so at this moment in time i have no idea how things are going to turn out. Student Finance have clear rules and will not deviate from them. i have to work out how to effectively come up with £3000 to pay for uni tuition fees to get through this year, i have savings but if i used that i would be clearing them out and would have no saftey buffer if things really did hit the fan (besides i was saving that money for future rainy days/buying a house deposit/getting married? – ok being presumptous on that one but a man can plan cant he?). i am praying that i get most of my deposit back from the old flat so that i can at least have a safety margin again of something, and i am praying that i get a lot of freelance work that i can do in my spare time to help fund things

i have to admit that i am pretty annoyed at this although in reality its just the rules of the situation so i have nothing to be annoyed about except myself, i am just pretty annoyed that the rules werent clear in the first place. but oh well life moves on, i can only pray that God reveals the correct solution to the problem because he has already made it clear that it is the right path to be on so i am quietly confident that it will all come good.

wow long post, but glad to get it off my chest.

Back again!

well its been a while! Lots has happened recently, from my last post people will no i lost internet because of Sky’s idiot customer service team trying to upsell us a service we already had and then screwing up the upgrade as well. it took 6 weeks to get internet back online and i have to admit not having the internet at home made me get more things in order and as a result this blog became less of a priority.

the blog will continue to be less priority to me than other things but i will try and update it a little more. in other news i moved it to wordpress as i realised i wasnt ever going to use the extra power of Drupal on this site – I love the power of Drupal but i am a strong believer in using the best tools for the job and in this case WordPress wins it.

i have also changed server now too, i used to use debian and webmin/virtualmin but i got fed up with the hassle of managing it so moved to a slightly more powerful server and switched to Cpanel at the same time. i have to admit going back to Cpanel is a comforting thing. i have to say that it wouldnt have been possible if it wasnt for the flexibility and power of i was able to setup the new server in parallel to the old one and gradually move data over and switch dns over, once i was done i was able to delete the old server and delete the old nodes and recieve account credits for the unused portion of the nodes for the month – all in all it hasnt cost me much to move (probably a pound or 2 minus cpanel licensing)

also most people will have been used to my blog being on, this is now redirecting here (the content is the same) as i thought my name was a better url to have. thats all for now, trying to save my news up for other posts 🙂