It's the night of the ball!!

Tonight! The end of year ball. The, single, biggest event of the university social calendar, and it happens tonight!! I'm not going, I can't afford it, but that's what day it is. I'm instead sat here writing a blog. All in pursuit of saving a few quid. It's probably overrated anyway. I wouldn't know; I've never been to one. After my first year, I was flying out to Vancouver 3 days after my last exam. After my second year I needed to get back to London to earn money for my year studying abroad. And finally this year, my last chance, I just can't afford it. Ah well, I can't really complain after the passed couple of days I've had

Ball Flyer As of 2 days ago, my academic education is officially over. My last ever exam, passport 1 Spanish, was on the 29th, and I am now officially done. Which I won't deny is a bit of a strange feeling. I started at, what, 4? I am now 22. I think it's fair to say that education has been a fairly large part of my life. 18 years & done! I'd've thought I'd know a bit more by now mind.

Anyway, that was 2 days ago. Then yesterday was a right yo-yo day. It started off great. I get out of bed & I'm walking to the bathroom, and I can hear that the front door is open by all the noise coming in. I look down the stairs just in time to see the suitcase of one of my housemates trailing out the door. I don't normally celebrate people leaving, but I've been waiting for this cunt to leave from the day he moved in. He was lazy, never clearing up after himself, always leaving the kitchen in a mess. I'd spend as much time clearing up after him as I did myself. He didn't have any friends, so he'd just hang about. Was just there, but was yet one of the most boring people you could ever talk to. He was arrogant, yet he was good at nothing... I was so happy to see him leave. He was a good friend to climate change as well, always leaving lights on and being about as energy inefficient as you can manage. I'll give him credit. True to form, he has left, locking his door but leaving his room light on, so that'll be a nice energy burner until someone happens to next be in his room. Which could be months away. And he's left a nice bowl of mouldy vegetables in the fridge, as well as leaving the kitchen sink full of all sorts of crap, so it looks like we're gonna have to clear up after him one final time. Seeing that fucker leave was the best start to a day I could've hoped for though.

Anyway, it was always going to be hard to keep the day rolling that well, and by 09:00 it had gone downhill. I'd arranged to call round someones house on the way to the gym; the same person I always go with, but for some reason, they didn't answer their door and didn't pick up their phone. And as of right now, I still have no idea where the fuck they are. Nothing pisses me off more than complacency. Lateness. Not being where you say you will... It does my head in. So I feel I should be pissed off. Though there's a small part of me thinking that something really could be wrong, so I'm really not sure what to be thinking. I did realise yesterday though, that I do owe him £19 for protein powder, so if he has died or something, then at least there's a plus side.

So that brought the day down a bit from where it had started, but I had a good workout. It got worse when I got back from the gym though. There's a brown envelope addressed to me sitting underneath the letter box. I open it up, and inside is a contract for work with AQA. And for 20 seconds I'm ecstatic that all my scrounging around for random jobs has paid dividends, because one thing that worries me if my Canadian visa is approved, is that I won't find any work for the 3 month period after Mexico, and before I leave. So getting a contract was awesome, and I was cheering. Until I inspect it more closely anyway. It's a 6-week contract, starting on the 23rd June, terminating on the 01st August. Fucking great. I'll be overseas for 4 of those weeks, but fucking great. Stupid mare who sent me the contract obviously hadn't read my form properly. Especially the bit where I clearly state that I will be "unavailable for these dates." That really brought me down. Long before I ever started booking for Mexico, the cost was an issue for me. But because of the people going, and because of how good a trip it should be, I bit the bullet and booked. Even since I booked my flights though, the cost has still wrangled in my head. And now that I know for certain that I would have been in full-time employment was I not going, the opportunity cost just got higher. The cost of the trip: maybe £1,000. That might be a bit optimistic as it includes time in New York, but for what is nearly a 4-week holiday, it's a bargain. However, lost earnings added on top... I'm not going to work it out, but it makes it a pricy trip. That really brought my day down. I'd have rather heard nothing. So after the day starting so well, it got a bit shit. I have emailed the woman who offered me the contract asking for work at a later date, but I'm yet to get a response. The work was essentially going to be counting examination score to make sure that examiners had added them up correctly. I guess that in August, there won't be such a demand for workers, but I tried anyway.

Webcam Anyway, after that I decided to walk into town for the second time in two days. With no more uni work, and no American football, I have little to keep myself amused with, and keep my body active with all of a sudden. I'm still working out pretty much every morning, but by midday I'm a little void of things to keep me occupied. Town is about a 40 minute brisk walk each way, so it's a way to keep my body moving and raise my heart-rate slightly. I also wanted a webcam. I found one in Curry's that looked good. Selling at £19.99, half the rrp, so it looked good. But I wanted to check it wasn't going cheaper anywhere else so I had to come back and check online, then go back into town for a second time to actually but it. £19.99 is a pretty heavy investment based on my current financials but I bought it for a couple of reasons. First, I'd discovered Skype. Talk to other people with Skype all over the world, for free. Like MSN, but better. From my time abroad, I know a lot of people overseas, so it seemed worthwile from that point of view. And also, I wanted to look into the possibility of having a webcam section on my website. I've decided that I'm going to remove a couple of sections from the website. I have a "current location" page, which was great when I created it. It was one of the first pages for the site that I made. But now I've educated myself a bit more about what I can actually do with a website, such as having Google maps as part of webpages, there seems little need for a current location page. I also currently have an extras page. This is the page for presenting any material that I want to show, that is not linked to travelling, or my trip. I think there is some really good content on there. Good jokes, that kind of thing, but I'm struggling to find a way to present it that doesn't make me cringe. So in the impending absence of these two pages, I thought it better to replace them rather than just remove them, to make sure that I have a sufficient amount of content on the site. And one of the ideas I had for a replacement page, was to have a webcam section. Now I am completely out of my depth in terms of the knowledge that I need to set something like this up. However I have found a few forums to help people who want to add a webcam to their site, so right now, it's a possibility. I think it'll be a try it and see scenario to see if I can get it running. It does seem a little bit of a redundant idea. I don't really know what anyone would get from watching a webcam. For a start, it would be off a lot of the time, because I don't even know that I'll have regular Internet access wherever I end up, but I want to explore the idea. I wanted a camera for Skype anyway. If I can get it running on the website, then it's a bonus.

The other replacement page I've thought of, is a guestbook. Again, this idea seems a little redundant seeing as I already have a forum. However it would be another interactive area of the site, and I guess a guestbook is good for people who just want to leave messages rather than discuss anything. It seems like it'll be easy to set up, using, like I do for the forum, an external provider who will host the guestbook on my site. Now I can hear people reading this thinking, how the fuck can I justify spending £19.99 on a webcam? I've worked out how to save more money!

Everyday I shower at the gym. They have shampoo and shower gel dispensers so it saves money on toiletries. On the occasions that I'm not showering at the gym, then you obviously want to have shampoo and shower gel as well. I use these dispensers to fill up my empty head and shoulders bottles, or whatever was on special when I last bought shampoo. This way I never have to pay for shampoo or shower gel. I've been doing that for a while. But why I've never clicked on this before I don't know. They give away complimentary fruit at the gym. I use fruit everyday when I make protein smoothies. Why the hell have I not been taking this fruit to use at home. It boggles my mind how blind I can be sometimes. Anyway, I've realised I no longer have to buy fruit because they give it to me at the gym. If I take enough complimentary fruit, then I hope that should pay for a webcam! Genius. Eventually I'll realise how to get back my whole membership fee from the gym. I don't think shampoo, shower gel and fruit quite cover it.

I say that the gym give away complimentary fruit. I think it's complimentary, I've never actually checked. I guess in theory it might be theft. But if it is, then it's inadvertant theft, and I don't think that really counts. There's no sign saying "this is not free fruit," and that's good enough for me.

Independent Study Anyway, I get my webcam. I have my 80 ish minutes of walking, so my day was back up again by this point. I get in at 16:15, turn on my laptop as normal. I wanted to get the webcam set up for a start. But I check my emails, then for some reason I have an urge to check my university emails. I don't know why. It's never normally a priority, but I had a strange urge. And it was lucky that I did. In my inbox, "your independent study grade is ready for collection." It's about 16:20 by now, and guess when the undergraduate office closes... 16:30. So I grabbed my bag and legged it down to the business school, getting there just before they closed for the day. I was a little nervous if I'm honest. Now my exams are done, and I think that they went ok, this was the last point I felt, that my degree could get fucked up. I definitely hadn't done my best work. The sections did not link together, it was a mess. I was hoping in the 50 range. I looked down at my mark to see a 75 sitting there, and I am chuffed to bits. I'll never quite understand how markers come to the marks that they do, but I got myself a first for the single biggest project of my academic career. What a damn relief. I'll be honest and say that I don't think that my project deserved a first, but I'll definitely take it. Now all I have to do, is wait. On June 30th I get my exam results. I think the exams went well, and have they done so, I have got my degree. One month to wait. I'll be in Mexico when I find out. I'm almost disappointed to get a 75. I've felt for a while now, that I would need to do unpresedentally well to move from a 2:1, my current grade, to a first. Or uncharacteristically bad to move down to a 2:2. It's great to have a first for my independent study, but I can't help but feel it'll just move me to within touching distance of a first, which, more than anything, will be really frustrating because I know that it is not achievable. However, can't complain. Especially because everyone that I've spoken to read the email too late and will have to wait until the other side of the weekend to pick up their grades.

So that was my day yesterday. It did get worse in the evening again. Watching Peep Show, I somehow managed to injure my left ankle. It's the second time this year I've hurt myself watching TV. I played every game of the American Football season without hurting myself, but watching TV kills me. It made doing spinning at the gym this morning pretty painful, and now I'm walking with a limp. What the fuck I did, I don't know. I was just sitting there and something went. And on top of that, Peep Show was pretty rubbish compared to normal. So it was an interesting day anyway. Well if you're still reading at this point it was anyway. If you stopped reading, and therefore will never see this, then I guess it was a rubbish day.

I have had a couple of other ideas on how I can add to the website. I was looking into seeing if it was possible to put eBay listings onto a website. I'm sure I've seen it before, and I cannot see that eBay would be opposed to it because they make more money from higher sales. I want it because, as I am planning on travelling from country to country, continent to continent, hemisphere to hemisphere, and climate to climate, my equipment needs are going to change. If I could sell off things that I no longer need, then it would ease on my finances. If I could promote these things on this website, should it ever generate any significant traffic, (which is a big if) then it might help them to sell at a higher price and keep me travelling for longer. Unfortunately I couldn't see a way to do it though, so unless something turns up, I guess I'll just add a section to the links page that goes directly to my eBay profile and items for sale. It won't be as affective, but it might generate a little more interest I guess.

Speaking of site traffic, I've been thinking of ways that I can promote this site. It's not something I'll really want to do until I've been travelling for a little bit, because up until that point, the content of a travel blog website is pretty limited. But after then, what would be the best way to promote a website. Obviously search engines. Then I could plaster the name of the website all over forums all over the Internet, and create Facebook groups, that kind of thing. But beyond the electronic world, how else can I promote it. Most people who have their own website live in a basement, and never leave the house. This is my view and I'm sticking to it. Surely there must be good ways to promote a site in the real world, to real people though. I have a couple. Firstly, toilets! This may be an indication of the value of this website, but think about it. If I'm sitting in a toilet cubile, I read every single word written on the walls. A public toilet cubilcle surely has 30... 40... maybe even 50 visitors a day. If I had, in big black writing on the back of a toilet door "", it would get noticed by 50 people a day. If I had it written on 20 toilet doors, that's 1,000 people a day. Now I'd have to be careful not to write it in places I'm going to go back to, or that are owned by people I know, because as soon as someone looks on the website, then any anonymity to the graffiti is gone. But in a New York public toilet in Grand Central Terminal, for example. It's a public building... who's going to care. It gets thousands of visitors a day. If I was to write the web address on the back of the door of every public toilet I use, then that is a lot of exposure. Is that ethical? Probably not, I'm not really an ethical person though. It's not going to kill anyone. Is it legal? I doubt it. But it's not like there are CCTV cameras in toilet cubicles. And its hardly a hanging offense. Well it's not in most countries anyway.

This was one idea that I had. Another, was business cards. It's dirt cheap to print off hundreds, even thousands of business cards. I was thinking I could print a huge stack of them, with nothing but the web address printed on, or maybe with some weird image on the other side, and just start leaving them everywhere I go. If I leave a tip in a bar, then leave the money sat on a business card. If I use a bus or a train, leave a business card on my seat when I get off. Just anywhere I go. In hostels, in bars, on trains, on buses. Each card I leave would be exposed to, 3 people maybe. For 1,000 business cards, that's exposure to 3,000 people. And for the amount they cost, if 1,000 business cards led to 5 people viewing my website, then I think it's a worthwile investment. I'll think it over. Promotion, promotion, promotion. There's not much point having a site if no one ever sees it.

I think... think, that I am going to be putting adverts on my site as well. It's been something that I've been racking my brains with ever since I started making the website. I always cringe when I see a website coated with adverts, and it means that I lost control of the content of some of my pages. However, the way each page is designed, I could fit in advertisements without sacrificing any content. And using Google's Adsense, it would involve virtually no effort on my part. The fact that Google doesn't reveal the percentage of advertising revenues that they take, and the percentage that they give to you, indicates that they take the bulk of it. But if I could make enough revenue from placing advertisements on my website, to be able to afford just one more days travel, then I think it was worth it. It's something I'll think over. There is no commitment with Adsense, so I guess I could just try it and see.

Going back to promotions quicky, it also got me thinking that I'm going to introduce a topic to the forum, probaby sticky so everyone who uses the forum sees it, "How did you find this website?" I think this would be a way to ease people to using the forum, which I would like to get used regularly, although for what I'm not sure. More importantly though, it'd be good to find out which of my unethical promotion methods work the best. Graffiti, business cards, bombarding other peoples forums. Maybe I should make forum membership compulsory to be able to post. This way I can filter all the angry people I get who want me to clean the graffiti off their toilet, and to stop bombarding their forum. At the moment, anyone can post. Maybe it'd be a good idea to change this.

Earth I don't know why, but right now, I have this real thirst for knowledge. I suddenly want to know everything! I seem to be watching an endless line of documentaries. History, travel, nature... all of these have become regular occurances. I can't really put my finger on why, but all of a sudden, I want to know everything. Anyway, I was watching one the other day that really got my brain working. It was a program about what would happen to the earth, if people suddenly disappeared. What would happen tomorrow. What would happen next year. What would happen in 10,000 years etc. Lets face it, we aren't too far from killing ourselves off for good, so it's interesting to know what will happen in our absence. It's quite staggering to see that it really wouldn't take nature long to claim back the earth. It gave one quote that I found interesting. "If the existence of planet earth was 24 hours, then the existence of human kind would last about half a minute." The earth has been around about 4.5 billion years supposedly, and according to a ruler I had about aged 8, humans have existed for 1.5 million (I know that was a 14 years ago, but I think it's still 1.5 million). If both of these are correct, then all we are is about 30 seconds. I took this a stage further, and worked on the assumption that civilisation has only been apparent for 10,000 years. Therefore, civilised humans have inhabited the planet for less than one fifth of a second. We are a mere blip in the existence of the earth. Can we really therefore, be having any significant impact with global warming? We are for today, yes. But this documentary got me thinking; once humans are gone, then surely carbon levels will return to normal. An increase in carbon levels coupled with the absence of human intervention, would surely lead to an increase in plant life. This would in turn lead to a reduction in the carbon levels, and within a few years of the end of humans, the world is back to normal. No more than 10,000 years. Just another fifth of a second. I don't know that I am right in these thoughts, but for all the fuss we make about global warming, me especially, surely we're just going to kill ourselves off, then the world will go back to normal. It'll be like we never existed. So although I like to make a fuss, discounting the regard for current species, humans included, global warming will, in the grand scheme of things, have very little impact.

Earth Girls And I got thinking... what if nature planned this. Is global warming natures defence against any species gaining an overiding authority? Does the greed that allows a species to become dominant, mean that they cannot stop taking and taking? And as they take and take, global warming will kick in, and this is how nature controls the power that a species possesses. When dinosaurs ruled the earth, was the meteor that ended their reign just a coincidence, or was that meteor summoned by nature somehow, just like how global warming has been initiated to curb human dominance? I find it facinating to think about. I think the reason I enjoy writing, is that it's a way of clarifying my thoughts. When they're in my head, they're just a mess, but I just write what appears in my head, and everything becomes clear. Well it does to me. I'd imagine most people reading this would think I was pretty mental. That's cool though, we all have our opinions.

When I was about 12 or 13, I remember playing through Final Fantasy VII. I found the story line absolutely fascinating at the time. And now, a decade on, I can see where they got their inspiration. A planet defending itself, a dominant regime who refuses to recognise the planets needs. It's not as much of a fantasy as I thought at the time. Ok the details are, but the overriding plot. They just used real life. Although instead of America, it was the Shinra Corporation. Instead of eco-warriors or Greenpeace, they were avalanche... maybe I'll play it through again sometime. I think it'd make a lot more sense this time around.

Anyway, I think i've been writing long enough now. When I start comparing fantasy games to real life, I think I've been staring at a screen too long. It's got to my brain. One more thing quickly though; I've always thought I was an original Jro. That I was unique... no one else calls themself Jro. It's a nickname I was given about 3 or 4 years ago, and it's always stuck. It gets changed from time to time; Jrock, Jrockster, something like that, but the name Jro has always remained. Anyway, I was bored on Google the other day, so I decided to search in images for "Jro", and I'm not the only one!! There is a band called Jro, short for Just Rockin' On, (how shit does that sound). I am also a consulting group. Jro Consulting, short for Janet M. Rotella. Not only that, there is another band who play "India's Mega Rock Festival" (rockin'), who go by the name Jro. Now as far as I'm aware, I'm still the only one to use the name Jro as an actual persons name, rather than a band or organisation, like I'm still the only one who'll get called it by their friends, but still. Some people have the nerve to take my name. I'm shocked! I'll get over it I suppose.

I'm done writing. That was way longer than I meant it to be. My heads gone a little light.

And is taken. This is a travesty!

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