…I turn on my computer, I wait impatiently as it boots up. I go on line, and my breath catches in my chest until I hear three little words: You’ve got mail. I hear nothing. Not even a sound on the streets of New York, just the beating of my own heart. I have mail… From you.

Before there was digital post there were letters, typically inked by pen and scripted without aid of an auto-speller or software thesaurus. If you were to send something you would take your time, plan, scrutinise, write. With the advent of the personal computer everyone could send a letter blurting out their thoughts and then arranging them to suit whoever it was they were writing. The first steps of personality lost in aid of formality.

When electronic mail became mainstream I’m sure the initial messages were of substance, few people had computers and a minority of them had an account to send to so what you did send was important to them or to you as mail was a rare and special thing.

Now everyone gets at least 3 figures of messages a day, 90% being spam, half a dozen reminders from some other area of the web and a personal mail sent to you by another person. And what format does that most important last piece of mail take? Three sentences? Two? E-mail has become so common place that too infrequently does anything with magnetic content come through.

If you are going to compose a personal communiquƩ make it a worthwhile occasion for the recipient, make intimate anecdotes, be detailed on trivial occurrences, run your mind thoroughly over the topic without fear of wasting time because every word can lighten a persons day.

First Social Event of the Year

This year seems set to be awesome, I’ve got an amazing room, a lovely floormate ( thats you Sarah šŸ˜‰ ) and reasonably cheap rent/bills, what more could I want? A full social planner!

On a whim I invited myself to a pub quiz I overheard Sarah being invited to, okay rude of me I accept this but its a fracking pub quiz, I’ve had years of practice with Network:MK that surely must be a benefit to ‘the team’, if I had someone strange join in with my group of friends and right off the bat they promoted success they would be fine in my book, otherwise they would take the usual windy road. In all likeliness we weren’t going to win but there is no warm planning for a success.

We arrived a tad early for my benefit so everyone could introduce themselves as they arrived, it were joined by Jody, Tara and Vicky. Tara was just visiting Jody, she seemed a little distracted all night I kept trying to involved her from what I thought was a longing for her boyfriend but it turns out it was just flu. Still I bet she thought I was hitting on her.

Vicky, probably thought I was hitting on her with a comment like “ you pull off wearing that [short] skirt well“, mostly it was just an innocent compliment but the rest was to distract from what I thought they thought was an interest in Tara.

Jody, the alpha female, tried not to get confrontational with her but still produce a healthy competition. I played the girls are better than boys card but apparently I don’t have the nack so note: don’t do that again.

This was all far too complicated for my liking, them sizing me up, me sizing them, all around a ‘fun’ quiz in a pub. When did making friends become such a sociological battlefield instead a character expanding exercise?

Towards the end of the quiz an additional soul joined us, a cherubic Kelly. Certainly different to the rest who regaled us of her messy breakup,

And to top it all off Sarah and myself achieved a healthy 11th quiz position in the above average sized pub.

Random Encounter

So I’ve gone off to Bristol to get myself setup for University restarting next week and I decide to look up some old friends. Despite missing an update on the ol’ address thing I managed to eventually track them down.

We chat for a while catch up, show off all our new gadgets and find out what each other is doing this year and make plans to go down the pub. Dave’s invited some fellow students from another house to join us and when they arrive low and behold one of them is wearing a World Scout Jamboree T-Shirt! Talk about a small world, and to make things even smaller one of her friends that she has brought with her is a Cub Scout leader!

So we get the end of the table to ourselves and chat about our plans and what we know about what is going on and what we’ll be doing. Katie turns out to be on the splash team and hopefully there’ll be enough people advertising for her to arrive at the most entertaining of venues the Go Jamboree forum.

Scout Network Gathering 2006

My 4th Network Gathering, despite knowing for months that I would be going in one form or another at the last minute I organised a lift with Jon saving myself and SSAGO some dosh by not having to be reimbursed for travel expenses.

The Milton Keynes vanguard managed to secure the spot we had last year, up the hill behind the Bield and left towards the pond. Gorgeous spot, its secluded enough that we can do what we want without judging eyes but easy enough to get to if you’re walking stumbling around the site.

Setting up site was interesting, being that last to arrive ( semi my fault, stupid job not paying me ) it wasn’t possible to decide how to arrange the site so I got stuck on a little mound overlooking the site, proved to be a bonus in the end! Getting the canapĆ© up was a giggle as you can see from the photos, Kelly was up a tree! It was worth it though when the heavens splattered us the next day.

Despite travelling there with SSAGO I spent most of my day with Network:MK as they were feeding me, however there were times I wish I had been with the new Exec as I there are few opportunities that I can get in with their clique, I’m not the only one that find it like that and it certainly doesn’t help with teamwork!

First to get up in the morning so I broke out the ol’ frying pan and started on the sausages I think it was the smell that quickly rallied everyone else up, apart from Adam which completely through me since he was turning down food.

Spending the afternoon in Windermere was relaxing, getting some Fish’n’chips, playing some Frisbee getting accosted by little children with water pistols…all good. Evening was fantastic, same band was in as last year and they obviously got their set down for their intended audience. We even surprised them as they have never had a gig finish off ‘I’m a believer’. I managed to meet/get to know a few people a bit better ‘little Sarah’ I’ve met her before on a couple of SSAGO adventures but never really gotten to know her Gathering certainly helped, and having her around didn’t hurt as I got introduced to Jenny but thats a whole other story that I don’t see fit to mention on a public blog.

Saturday also saw the first SSAGO Exec 06-07 meeting, lasted about an hour. Mostly seemed a bit daft as it was all about us and what we were going to do, there are lots of things that I need to do but all I can do its sum it up in a few lines because none of them seem to care or even understand how much there is that I have to do.

Missed the ‘It’s a Knockout Rubber Duck Challenge Thingy’ again last year everyone slept in this year there just wasn’t any interest. Afternoon led quickly to evening and the Karaoke, Div and Kelly got their ‘Dead or Alive’ on, calming the mood of the night but not extinguishing it due to their reasonable rendition.

Stayed in late on Monday aswell, so much so that I was the last to rise ( although it wasn’t like I didn’t keep getting distracted ) my punishment was doing the washing up for everyone but I had only done it once at this point so I’d say that was fair.

There you have it some random points of Network Gathering 2006, be there next year!

Here’s To You

So last Friday I was in the middle of my trip to Birmingham and I get a phone call from an old friend in Milton Keynes who after pleasantries tells me that Sean, someone who I worked with has passed on.

I met him on my first day at my first real job after sixth form and we got on instantly. For the next 6 months before he left I learnt a lot from him, both about the job and life. I never told him this but he was a great mentor for me and I don’t think I would’ve done so well at that or any of my following jobs.

I’ve tried thanking in lots of little ways as I didn’t want to make him feel awkward about his passive mentoring. I haven’t seen him for the better part of a year so I hadn’t caught up with him but I’m told he had broken up with his fiancé recently, just after losing his job.

It’s incomprehensible when such negative events happens to someone who has given so much to those around him.

Thunderbirds Are Go!

Okay slight exaggeration but if ‘they’ could make up their confounded minds on the name of my car I wouldn’t be in this predicament. It’s the “Yellow Brick” when I’m with Neil, the “Flying Banana” with the Parents, on Episode III night it was the “Millennium Canary” so Tomorrow Matthew its going to be a Thunderbird, most likely Thunderbird 4 since its yellow with large red lights on the back that look similar to 4’s the thrusters, however mine doesn’t have the ability to go underwater…yet…

Go! Go where? Well I’ll be making my way to Brum land (Birmingham) in about 10 hours firstly to pop into their Student Union and have a chat with their Newspaper Editor, which believe they call it the Red Brick and its an award winning read so I hope to learn a little something.

Then I’m visiting my old pal Div at his University Digs, should be good he’s famous for his flamboyant antics although having read his blog last night it seems things have quietened down so hopefully I won’t be disappointed.

And as a round-up to the weekend there is The Chocolate SSAGO Rally. I will be arriving at a reasonable hour this time, not stupid 3am like the last one. I’m fully looking forward to going since I’m running for Publicity Officer and the vote this Sunday will determine if I get the orifice.

So toodles for now and I’ll write when I get back.