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.
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.
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".
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)
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.)
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:
lift right foot
clutch and shift
foot off clutch
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!