Entering Into The Unknown: April Approaches

Hello and Good evening from another county!


I hadn't mentioned this in my previous blog (because I was totally unaware) but on the 27th March, 2022, at 01:00, the clocks went forward by one hour


28/03/2022 - Monday

A new week began - and so did the last 4 days of March - the last 4 days of "sanity" and "control" (April's been a bit bat-shit crazy)


To begin with, Monday saw me achieve a new personal best record of lasting 65 days without completing a session in iRacing - not a practice, test or race - the previous record was a whopping 64 days between October and December 2020.

On Tuesday (29th March), I published my Top 7 longest "Non-iRacing Periods" on Facebook

That day's lecture was about magazine journalism (Sorry, brain has gone fuzzy)

In addition to this, it was also Luke Mitchell's 45th day on iRacing - so, just as I reviewed Tom's first 45 days, I reviewed Luke's - it's very interesting to see the similarities and differences between the two.


Tom: https://www.kabortmotorsport.com/post/tom-wallace-the-first-40-days

Luke: https://www.kabortmotorsport.com/post/luke-mitchell-the-first-45-days


After having McDonalds for dinner ("Monday Night Maccies" almost turning into a tradition now), I only needed to sort food for Tuesday and Wednesday night before I went to Essex that weekend - this made the weekly food trip a little cheaper than usual.


I stayed up until 3am because...well, "something on Facebook Happened".


29/03/2022

Tuesday was my "Double Lecture Day" and consisted of a slightly shorter Photo-Journalism lecture (learning how to edit photos using Adobe Bridge) After this, I sprinted:


From the lecture room (floor 2)

to my accomodation(to get charger)

to Starbucks

and then back to the same building, where my second lecture was due to start. Public affairs that day was about attracting audiences to Social Issues, and as a task we were meant to find a local news piece (already published) and talk about how we'd turn it into a feature, the title we'd use and the first line we'd write.


I found three articles based in the West Midlands informing about the poor upkeep of local infrastructure.


These three local stories highlighted: 1) 1 in 5 roads in the West Midlands has less than 5 years left of "structural life" left (1/5 roads NEED repairing in the next 5 years) 2) The West Midlands Metro (metro system through Wolverhampton) is closed for the third time in 9 months after cracks found


3) An eye infirmary in Wolverhampton falling into disrepair (site closed for more than 10 years)


That evening, I went to ASDA to get my food for the week (or a Kiev and Pizza) as well as an Aston Martin Valhalla diecast car, which I was lucky enough to pick up (the hot-wheels box is a gold mine when it comes to diecast models.)


30/03/2022

After months and months of "dither and delay" - I eventually went to the Telford Campus to record audio for the bulletin.


To give context on this, I was emailed with the UWR Press Release on the 31st January (2022)


on 25th February (2022) I finally went to the Telford Campus and recorded audio.

Between the 25th and the 30th, I edited the audio from about 40 minutes, to just 8.


Yes, I may have done an all-nighter, but following a shower and breakfast (on Wednesday Morning) I felt like I had a good nights sleep - and went on to the News Day to function just fine.


During the News Day, I further filtered the 8 minute piece to 4 minute 50.

Despite taking almost three months to produce, I was proud to hear the final version...well, sort of. Ironically, my lecturer and I had a discussion through the entireity of my piece! (I tried to audio-record my piece using my phone, but couldn't due to the conversation).


The main discussion point was that whilst I recorded my "presenting" bits on-site (at Telford), both interviews were done virtually.


The first one (Shane Kelly), I emailed him to send an audio file of him talking about a certain subject, and the second (interview) I had was through Discord.


We're very much in the "no-mans-land" of COVID - whilst it still exists and is around us, we are very quickly returning to normality and having "virtual" interviews is becoming less and less commonplace.


I presume his (my lecturer) thought was that if I recorded the "presentation" bit on-site (at the Telford Campus), I could have asked Shane for an interview on-site as well - but I had no idea of his plans or commitments that day - but overall, I believe it sounded professional.


To my surprise, we ended the lecture at 3pm - which was a lot earlier than I was expecting.

After heading back to my room/accommodation, I emptied the box in which my computer came to Uni in, and put my computer and monitor in (of course I sorted out wires first!) before clearing out the bin and eventually leaving at 4:39pm.


I'd eventually arrive a 7:34pm.


By this time, it was already getting pretty late and with me being shattered, I just wanted a lazy night in.


As my rig was in one building, and my PC/Monitor was in another, there was no racing on Wednesday night.


The only "recorded" activity that night was a little trip out between 8:20pm and 9:08pm (less than an hour), after this, I had McDonalds and then headed back to the house to sleep.


Thursday 31st March, 2022

Thursday was very much a lazy day - I briefly remember waking up at 12:00 (midday) before drifting off back to asleep again.


The first recorded activity on the Thursday (brain fart) was at about 2:20pm, shortly after this, at 2:28pm, we headed to Land Rover to pick up a car key for the other car that I occasionally drive. (haven't properly given it a spin in 2022).


After dropping a friend off (to college) at 3pm - we had a quick look in Tesco and Smyth's to see if there were any (diecast) cars not yet in our thousand-strong collection (another of my Essex friends being a collector too).


At 3:39pm on Thursday 31st March, I logged onto this computer for the first time since Wednesday night.


That evening, I had a very important business to attend to: Become a part of the Aston Martin Vantage (GT4) owners club - it only took a minute or two, and I was one of them!


With the downloads complete, at about 4:20pm, I was ready to hit the track for the first time in over two months - trying both cars (Mustang and Vantage GT4) at Bathurst, both feeling very "alive"


I would later try the Mustang with a clutch (clutch and paddle shifters), but after telling my friend Will, he said that this (doing it on iRacing) wasn't too accurate as in real life, you'd have to find the bite-point.


But in doing this "manual test" in the mustang, I actually LEARNT what the clutch does - you press it down and you can shift gears - for as long as it's depressed, you can shift. I also learnt that you can't have the throttle planted to the floor, and use the clutch you've sort of got to do:

gas,

lift right foot

clutch and shift

foot off clutch

gas


Will did admit however "it's one step closer" so I'll definitely take that - now when I destroy a manual car's gears, I'll know what I am doing.


With everything said and done - I went from not using a clutch at all (and admittedly barely knowing what one was) to racing using the "Anti-Stall Clutch" setting. Next step? Get in a beater and learn the hard part!


The point of testing the content was for two main reasons:

1) To see how the new content handled/felt

2) to see if everything on my rig was operational/how the new setup felt (for me personally, with a new field of view).


The only problem that arose (during said test) was the fact that I was perpendicular to the window and (since it was the afternoon/evening), light was streaming through the window and across my monitor, meaning that half the time, I couldn't actually see what was happening on my screen.


There were two simple solutions to this (since curtains weren't an option)

1) use car-tint to limit the amount of light coming through (although this would create a sense of all-day darkness)


2) Race prior to the sun coming over to the window (midnight to early afternoon)

As of writing this, it's currently 10:30am on Saturday 2nd April, so I've got today and Sunday, before I'm back at Uni until Wednesday, on Thursday I collect my rig and head home for 24 hours of non-stop practice before the actual race.


Due to being a little tired (and due to the sight problem), I decided to not do anything "official" that evening, and only briefly test out the series at the tracks they were at.


Friday, April 1st: I Was The Only Fool That Day...


00:00. Midnight. A new month, new opportunities, and a month of chaos to come. I knew I'd begin racing (once again) in April - but when exactly, I had no idea.


At midnight, I realised it was April fools (day) so, I found the first legitimate picture of a baby-scan I could find, and uploaded it to Facebook with the caption "❤️"


At the time, I thought it was funny - and my friends all added comments (to make it look realistic) and I ensured the ones giving away the joke were hidden.


It wasn't until about 45 minutes later that I realised something was wrong.

A friend of a flatmate at Uni (checked Facebook, I wasn't friends with them, but they were friends with my flatmate) commented "i’m not being funny but this is a sick thing to joke about"


At first I thought nothing of it and deleted it. The comment came back, and I just hid it.


My thought was that I'd just go to bed and wake up in the morning fooling everyone from family, friends, relatives, the pope...


But I had an epiphany. It was offensive, and the thing I stayed I up on the 28th March for was also problematic and deserves either an explanation or an apology.


I'm struggling to find the line between funny, offensive, and "dark humour" - whilst edgy jokes can be funny (since no-one expects to hear them), push it too far and you are crossing the boundary.


In this case, I had read articles in previous years about how joking you were pregnant on April Fools Day is offensive to those who have struggled and continue to struggle with infertility - be that miscarriage, trying but failing, SIDS - you name it, and I'm just here like "haha you thought I was having a baby but I wasn't"


I don't know how many played along, and how many thought it was real - but having never mentioned a relationship since...a long time, I thought it'd throw up a red flag or two.


No matter, I archived the post - just out of respect for those who have lost babies. I later thanked the person that bought this to my attention.


The reason I picked that (pregnancy) as an April Fools is that it's not so petty that nobody cares, yet it's not so unrealistic that it's given away - and it was the first thing I could think of. Maybe I'll try marriage next year.


At 1am, I fooled Kabort - saying I was leaving iRacing and Kabort - in the beginning this was a good one, and I caught a good few people - then someone cancelled their subscription (for a bot in the server) because they thought I was actually shutting up shop, for which I felt guilty about...what a great start to April.


On a more positive note, I made up with someone I previously fell out with - which whilst I had to make a sacrifice, I'm glad I made up with this person.


Later that day, my friend had to go to the pharmacy, so I drove her out there and whilst out, it snowed rather heavily.


Whilst out, Evie messaged me to tell me that she had something incredibly serious to tell me - and admittedly, I fell right into the trap. I got her that morning, that afternoon (at about 12:00) she completely got me - and got me good, telling me (almost in tears) that she thought she was pregnant - I was (incredibly) relieved to find out she was not.


That afternoon, I fired up my rig again and did some AI Racing against the Formula 3 cars.


Other than that, I don't think there is very much more to report on, other than having an absolutely DEVINE Hunter's Chicken made for me by my friends.


I also went shopping for a few bits and bobs for a friends upcoming birthday and surprise event I will discuss in due course.


2/04/2022


I woke up, had some breakfast, looked for my phone (on the bed next to me lol) and finally couldn't hold the temptation back any more and decided to do my first race. It'll start at 12:00 and likely be a one-off event as I'm just testing if this (Mustang) is any good in a race environment - if not, it's likely going to be a season of GT4 & GT3 (GT4 having a multi-class series and a single-class series) - Today also being the first day I can properly get down some lap-times for the Nurburgring 24 Hours. It'll be the first time attempting this event since 2020, so I want to make it a special one.


See you next Blog,

Robin

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