Updated: Dec 23, 2021
Hello and welcome to this week's blog!
Without any rambling or verbose, let me bring you fully up to date as to what has been happening in my (somewhat) chaotic life.
Monday 29th November, 2021 - (48 Hours Until Advent)
On Monday, I left Harlow at about 11am, arriving for about 1/2pm.
The lecture I missed was the first part of the lecture previously missed due to my lecturer's network problems - although I don't know if by doing this, we're a week behind - and with two upcoming virtual meetings on the 6th and 13th - time might be a little short for this module.
On this day in 2020, I went to UWR to have a little look around the engineering building at the Telford Campus.
Tuesday 30th November, 2021 - (24 Hours Until Advent)
Tuesday's Media, Law and Ethics lecture was on reporting children and reporting sexual offence cases. It was a very intriguing topic on what you can and can't report on and reveal in court and in different medias.
Wednesday 1st December, 2021 - Advent Day 1: University
December at last! Now it's just an icy hill towards Christmas!
Today's lecture was just going over the first assignment which was to find a site which is either:
1) A mainstream online news website
2) A J-Blogging site
3) A participatory news website
From there we had to analyse the site and the features on the site.
It's a 2,500 word piece and has got to be handed on the 20th - so after my Powerpoint due on the 15th, it'll be my next port of priority.
Thursday 2nd December, 2021 - Advent Day 2: Friends
After some good food and some good rest, I awoke the following morning refreshed and ready to attack the day.
At midday, I'd leave for Harlow - arriving there 2 - maybe 3 hours later.
The first port of call (before I could get comfortable) was to grab a baby trampoline from the town centre - a local charity shop was re-locating and since we had no idea how long that trampoline would stay there (both because of potential buyers and also because of the imminent closure of the store).
After much hassle, faff and removing the boot "liner" (hard fabric making up the bottom of the boot/covering the spare wheel well), we eventually got it in and headed home.
The 2nd was also the day that the second "part" of Teardown was released, completing the campaign. This issued me with a slight Dilemma - I was a part of the Teardown Discord and loved interacting with the community - but as I was still on Part 1 (and had a couple of missions to go) spoilers would soon be aplenty, so I decided to leave the server...and probably won't join back until I'm at least a good way through - or 3/4 of the way through Pt. 2 - the only spoiler I've got thus far is something about a helicopter - maybe driving it - but other than that I've been pretty shielded (thankfully).
Friday 3rd December, 2021 - Advent Day 3: Success (Mostly)
Up until the 7th mission, I was doing pretty darn well at Teardown, every so often (when I was at my computer) I'd fully complete a mission after over an hour of setting it up.
The 7th mission was the first in which I had to compromise and run back to my "escape vehicle" with only half the targets destroyed.
Whilst completing all but 2 missions in part one, I only managed to complete the "primary targets" leaving the "secondary"/"optional" targets.
My strategy is to create a route for all the targets, and if I can't manage them all in time, add a shortcut to just get the "primary ones"
On this day, we also visited a relative of a friend. One year ago, would mark the start of one of our driver's singing careers...
Saturday 4th December, 2021 - Advent Day 4: Adventure!
On Saturday, (at about 3pm) we'd set off towards Manchester for a friend's relative's 50th Wedding Anniversary.
On the way up, we pulled in to a travelodge to sleep overnight - I was even lucky enough to have my own room.
The journey took about 2hrs and 55 minutes.
Sunday 5th December, 2021 - Advent Day 5: Celebration
After waking up, we'd hit the road shortly after.
I previously had to make the choice of breakfast or dinner (the budget for the trip only accommodating for one) - so I went for dinner, as it's better to go to bed on an full stomach, rather than filling yourself up during breakfast and then realising you're screwed when you have run out of energy for the day.
No matter - we found the church, and were invited in.
We made it for the cake-cutting ceremony - and whilst glancing around, I think I certainly made it within one of the Top 6 youngest people there.
Not long after, we were allowed to help ourselves to food. I had a ham sandwich, sausage roll, slice of presumably gluten free pizza (one had a sign attached saying "Gluten free", but I didn't know if all of them were or just that slice) - I also had a small chocolate cupcake.
I managed to not initiate any conversations - only answer questions that were being fired my way. Not being rude, I just didn't know anybody, their names, who they were - and I was likely not going to see them any time soon.
We stayed there...a rather long time - after everyone had left, but I was in no hurry, so I stayed put.
After everything, we eventually headed home at about 8pm - arriving home at no later than 10:25pm.
That night, I'd watch the Jeddah Grand Prix highlights, which was absolutely thrilling and whilst many were split between Hamilton and Verstappen - I was just happy that they were on the same amount of points going into the final race - ever since I started watching F1 in late 2011/early 2012, I had dreamt that a scenario like this would happen....and 2021 was my lucky year!
Monday 6th December - Advent Day 6: Dyspraxia
Monday was rather the clumsy day for me - missing an online discussion/lecture due to mis-remembering the time (12:40 as opposed to 12:20) - at most I talked to him for 5 minutes before the person who booked the 12:40 slot came along, and the lecturer and I agreed to talk later/do the virtual-lecture/meeting/talking about the assignment later that evening....which of course I forgot about.
Another thing that totally escaped me was my MOT - which expired the very next day...the same day I had a in-person lecture...FUUUUUN.
The only place that would allow me to do my MOT the following day (Tuesday 7th December) was Kwik-Fit - and whilst more expensive than a local garage, it was the only place with immediate dates.
Tuesday 7th December - Advent Day 7: Cars
I didn't quite imagine the 7th December going as it did...but I lived to tell the tale, so...it could have gone worse.
After waking up fairly early for the 10am MOT booking, I was ready to nip down to Enfield and get my MOT sorted for the year...that is until I saw the state of my car.
one of my friends said that "they (Kwik-Fit) wouldn't care" (or words to that effect - but it was as much about me as them (the MOT people) - there was about a layer or so of rubbish in every footwell/on the floor of the rear passenger seats.
Those as Kwik-Fit were doing me a favour (whilst being paid to do so) - the least I could do was make my car look nice so that if they needed access to the glovebox or anywhere else, they could do it without needing an artic shovel to clear a pathway. (I joke).
The problem was that my "little" cleaning job meant I was about half an hour late for my MOT - only managing to leave when my MOT was due to start.
A worker for Kwik-Fit "promptly" let me know I was late and told me to come back at 4pm...great.
Anyway, I drove back home and released it was Week 13 on iRacing - the week where juicy content is released to us by the developers of the sim - this week (for the road-racing guys) we were fed TWO TCR (Touring Cars) - The Honda Civic and Hyundai Elantra, Knockhill Raceway (to go with it) and the W12 Mercedes Formula One car from 2021!! Very impressive! Also in the notes was a re-scan of Watkins Glen.
This season, iRacing switched it up slightly and the NASCAR series had an "identity crisis" with the GT3 Challenge - the GT3's racing on ovals for a week and the NASCAR's racing on the normal GT3 circuits for a week.
I'll be honest, I was a little bit bummed that I was only going to be racing in one race that week (Tuesday's) but that's how being a student goes - you miss quite a lot of racing action!
Whilst waiting for my MOT time slot to "arrive" I did my first and only Week 13 event. Since there were no splits (based on iRating, instead based on chronological order of who joined first) - all I needed to do to ensure I was in the same split as Tom Wallace was join at the same time as him (or vice versa - him joining at the same time as me).
It worked! We were in the same split! Finally a true comparison of our skill in the same (or almost same) machinery - he was in the Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo, and I was in the Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo.
The track was the USA International Speedway - a small oval, yet large enough that you'd have to shift up and down at the beginnings/ends of straights.
In a rare-once in a life-time occasion, Tom fluffed up qualifying - gifting me 6th (outside line), whilst he was in 7th on the inside. Qualifying Me: 20.600
Tom: 20.616 Under normal circumstances, I'm not a million miles away from Tom's pace (I'd say usually less than 5 seconds off) so even with going wide/fluffing up his lap, he was only 0.016 off my time - which is still very close and interesting - shame I wasn't able to continue this INTENSE battle throughout Week 13.
The race was where Tom showed his true pace - his average lap coming down to a 20.761, whilst mine was stuck at a 21.047. His pace allowed him to sneak up into second place, whilst I only moved up one place (Tom created the space, I snuck through).
T: Started: 7th | Finished: 2nd | FL: 20.140
R: Started: 6th | Finished: 5th | FL : 20.501
With the race done, I looked at the replay for a bit - before realising I had to go.
I was already planning to leave at 3:30 (half an hour before the MOT), but knowing schools were due to come out and the roads clogged, it was suggested to me that I leave at 2:45pm - just to beat this chaos. So I did.
I arrived at about 3:12pm - just when schools were being let out and although I was early, a different Kwik-Fit employee told me to park in the garage and wait.
I took my laptop and phone with me to entertain me...yet, obviously, neither was charged and both ran out within 5 minutes of me starting them up.
Obviously, it wasn't the end of the world as I hadS reading material...although it wasn't QUITE "Autocar"...
After reading various paper notices, warnings, adverts and recommendations stuck to the wall, they eventually asked for my key at 4pm - a further hour from here and everything was done and dusted.
The car passed (THANKFULLY!) with only one advisory - the front brake pads wearing thin - how thin? I have no idea. But being an "advisory" and not an MOT Failure hints towards the fact that I might be able to get to the Isle Of Wight - or even just Harlow/Essex - we'll see how it goes.
Wednesday 8th December - Advent Day 8: Decisions.
Usually my Wednesday Lecture is in the afternoon, but today was different as it was a News Day, which started at 10am (sharp). I unfortunately didn't make this, yet still headed back to Uni, leaving at about 10. If I wanted to, I could have stayed from Thursday until Saturday/Sunday, but I like to keep my work-place and my "fun" place separate.
Working at Harlow and "playing" at Uni probably just confusing matters.
Looking back, I do sort of regret it, because I could have had 5 more races with Tom, and being ovals (all about slip-stream) I could have been very close to him, but I guess I have one shot at Uni, and well...many shots at iRacing - I just hope that GT3 has another identity crisis because that was some of the funnest Week 13 racing I've had in....quite a while. I don't know if it was because I was with Tom or I like funky races (like GT3's at ovals) - but it was certainly a hit for me.
Whilst back at Uni, I probably didn't have the most active week - but I felt like I got quite a bit done. (not towards uni, par-se, but more "things on my list I wanted to get done)
1 Year ago (on this day) I'd be driving home for Christmas, after the COVID situation got out of control. Shortly after we'd be chucked into our second lockdown (first in March, 2020). Following that, I'd not go back to Uni until April 2021 or so.
Thursday 9th December - Advent Day 9 - 12 : Sleep, Laptop, Eat, Repeat
Thursday to Sunday were incredibly short days - I'd pretty much wake up, skip breakfast (because I was in the zone), Eat dinner before going to bed. Over these three days I worked on: a spreadsheet showing me/my dad how I got to be in overdraft, the list of iRacing cars in order of release date, which car in iRacing I've driven the most on iRacing as well as a couple of blogs.
One year ago, on this very day, The Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo was released and honestly, iRacing hasn't been the same - so an incredibly happy first birthday to (undoubtedly) my favourite car on the service!
12th December, 2021
Another crucial event this weekend (specifically Sunday) was the final race of the 2021 Formula One World Championship at Yas Marina in Abu Dhabi. Whilst Hamilton got an impressive start, he'd have to fend off Perez - by driving defensively - this in turn meant Verstappen could catch up (by driving like a mad-man and taking each corner as fast as he dared, whilst Hamilton had to worry about not letting Perez past - and when Perez DID pass, re-passing the Mexican.
Hamilton was essentially in a lose-lose situation - let Perez past and Verstappen is the next car behind, fight Perez and lose all momentum and time in fighting for P1.
52 of the 58 laps would be held under green-flag conditions...but when Nicholas Latifi (Williams) crashed on Lap 53 - The championship would be decided in the final 8 laps...how exciting!
Now, politics aside and safety forth, Latifi was perpendicular to the circuit - as if he parked up in a parking bay and was about to pay for his parking.
So. Latifi's crashed, there's a stricken car on track - what now?
continuing with green (or even waved yellow) flag running would be suicidal - if someone made the same (simple) mistake as Latifi - or even locked a wheel and ran wide, they'd be straight into him - at racing speeds - and with the engine nearest the racing line - someone's DEFINIETLY going to get hurt - be that the marshals, Latifi, and/or whoever hits him (should they make a mistake at this corner.
The FIA had a very tough call to make - whilst a virtual safety car does slow everyone down via a target lap-time, a real safety car bunches the field up and gives the marshals about 2 - 3 minutes (every lap) to clear the car and accident scene - this also meant the championship leaders would be on each other's tails - which would be incredibly good for the thrill and a last few lap duel.
This came with some drawbacks however - with only an 11 second lead, if Hamilton HAD pitted, he'd come out behind Verstappen, whilst Verstappen had the time/opportunity to pit for fresh tyres and come out of the pits again
Toto (team principal of Mercedes) was not impressed though - with an 11 second lead, he pleaded Masi (race director) Lap 56 however - two from the end - the FIA started playing God.
Under normal circumstances, (all) lapped cars are usually allowed to un-lap themselves before the Safety Car pits at the end of the following lap - giving those a lap down a chance to catch the rear of the field, or clear the way for the leaders who will want to focus on battling each-other instead of picking their way through backmarkers - especially if the leader is directly behind the safety car, and P2 is three or four cars behind - in short, it's safer for everyone if the lapped cars are removed from the equation and allowed to un-lap themselves.
The difficulty was that with the time that the clean-up operation took - doing the "normal procedure" would end the race under safety car - or with the safety car pulling into the pits with just a handful of corners to go.
Initially, the FIA stated that lap cars would not be allowed to un-lap themselves - but the very next lap, they said that they were - indicating that the following lap after this, the Safety Car would be in...but it didn't QUITE play out that way. The cars unlapped themselves, and on the same lap as this, the Safety Car pulled into the pits - giving both Max and Lewis 16 corners and 5km (3 miles) to decide the championship - the FIA really nailing the "Fight To The Flag" scenario/situation - although quite a few rules and regulations were stretched in order for the fight to happen - which upset quite a few of Lewis' fans - especially given (under normal circumstances) - this should have been his championship and race win.
Who do I blame and support? Firstly, neither driver did anything wrong...particularly, yes there may have been questionable moments in the season - Monza, Brazil, Jeddah - but Max qualified impeccably (and cleanly) and kept up with Hamilton's pace. Hamilton's a 7-time-world Champion with a car and team that can do the job - beating - or even matching Hamilton is no easy feat.
Yes, there may have been moments in the season that wouldn't have been okay if they were other drivers - but it was a 22 race season - and Max didn't keep up with Lewis for 21 races on dirty tactics alone.
I see what Masi was doing by creating the thrilling finish - for the fans, media, NETFLIX and to promote Formula One - it's the current state of the world - everything's gone digital and everything is about numbers - viewers, likes, subscribers, money made...
Right until that safety car was called into the pits - either one of them could have had it.
I'm sure Masi was conflicted too - about what's morally right and what would be more exciting. Whilst a safety car finish would have been more morally right, a lot of fans would have complained that it was boring - or that it was fixed.
There was speculation over Latifi - or Schumacher telling Latifi to crash to protect his father's record - the last record that Schumacher still keeps after Hamilton has smashed the rest.
Whilst I am overjoyed for Verstappen - and personally glad that we have a new world champion in a new team - whichever way the end of the race went would have stung - Latifi didn't crash? Hamilton wins an 8th - good for him as he deserves it and "won" - bad for the unpredictability of the sport - Hamilton won through the Safety Car finish - how anti-clamatic.
I think the only result that would satisfy everyone was if Verstappen found the time and caught up to Lewis and they had a photo-finish, but real-life isn't Hollywood.
50's - 80's: Leave the car there, green flag running to the end - (maybe even localised yellow flag/no overtaking around that corner) - but if they go side-by-side whoever's on the outside of that corner is beyond stuffed. 90's - 2010's: Formula One is pretty much on Television, come the late 00's - we get highlight packages later on in the day and eventually a single video on YouTube. I don't know. It's bittersweet - but I couldn't have asked for a better end to the title - and it's not likely that we are going to see something like that again.
~ 13th December, 2021 - The Final Week!
On Monday, I had my second virtual teams meeting with my lecturer, wrapping up my Representation Module for 2021.
This online teams meeting really cleared up the second assignment up for me - and I found out that whilst I went wrong on the first one, I "jumped the gun" and wrote too much in detail and said how each source linked to my film specifically, instead of giving a much more vague overview on each source - meaning that I technically did what they wanted me to do in the second assignment, in the first.
My lecturer did say though, that I could use my first assignment, in my second, just so long as it didn't look like a bibliography. After the meeting, I've got a much clearer idea of what I need to do to complete the second assignment - and I've got until January to complete it, so maybe I'll sneak in a race during the Christmas holidays!
Tomorrow I'm presenting my Powerpoint, before finishing up on Wednesday with a full on news-day (Multimedia News Production) to finish up the year!
I'm going to grab some food, finish the last slide of my PowerPoint and then watch a little more Young Sheldon before heading off to bed!
In case anyone is wondering about my "countdown", well, Brazil (today), UAE and Bahrain remain before the countdown is essentially completed.
See you soon!