Jan 9 2016

Just shut up!

Mr Stuff

I had a bad health day yesterday, up at 4am and feeling like boiled crap. I still made it into work and did a days worth of stuff, in a way it helped as it was PAT testing with I find almost a form of meditation. But I was asked if I was ok to stay on a bit for some truck tips and I couldn’t, I was being held together by 2 cans of Monster and really couldn’t do any more. And for no good reason my head has jumped on that and is beating me silly. 

It’s been doing that a lot recently and I’m really not used to it. There have been doubts about things in the past, from what I can remember, but nothing like this. It feels like I’m at school being shouted at by a headmaster all day long and not many of my distractions are working too well. I can’t read as my head drowns it out, I’m getting little joy from playing video games since I get distracted from them by my inner voice.

So I’m going to look into ways of calming it down and CBT seems to be the first obvious choice. I just hope it can help since this is another new addition to my life that I could really do without

Jan 4 2016

No ragrets

Mr Stuff

Not even one letter

I’ve really struggled with this post, so many revisions and edits. I’m not sure where I was going with this post and at one point it turned into a self indulgent rant. 

I’ve been thinking a lot about my past recently, mainly the fact that I don’t remember it, and whether I have any regrets. And I don’t, or at least I don’t have any that I remember. Wow that’s an easy one, or is it?

Most regrets people have seem to be around work or relationships, neither of which I can truly remember but know that whichever route I took to get here has been pretty good to me. I’m surrounded by great people that love and support me

I only know of 4 relationships that I’ve had, and I’m still in one of those. Of the other 3 there’s a woman I can’t recognise from a photo and the other 2 that I chat to on Facebook, mostly about things I can’t remember about our time together but I really want to move out friendships past that. 

Focusing on those 2 I don’t remember any of the relationships enough to know if I have any regrets about them ending. I know they both have gorgeous families of their own, that it’s very obvious they love to bits, that may not have happened if we’d stayed together. Which is why I think regrets about relationships are fairly selfish, I wouldn’t want their lives to have been any different just because of me. 

That brings me onto children. I don’t have any and have never really felt grown up enough to consider it. I don’t feel like an adult, even though I’m married with a mortgage which are all adult things. And I’m not sure if I regret not having had any or not.

I don’t remember much about my work but know, mainly from my CV, that I had a long career in games testing. From the post I put on FB it seems I was quite good at it and respected by the people I worked with. So nothing really to regret there as I obviously enjoyed it and am really enjoying the work I’m doing now and the people I work with are awesome. 

I know I’ve worked for a time in the US and travelled to Germany for work and have been to Finnish Lapland. Those are journeys that I know have happened, don’t really remember any other holidays or work journeys. And while I’m sure I could have probably travelled more I’m not sure if it would have made any difference to me, and I wouldn’t remember it anyway. 

So in the regret stakes I’ve found that misplacing my memories has helped me because I’d hate to be sat here regretting major decisions I’ve made. 

Dec 21 2015

Ooh it’s a biggun

Mr Stuff

I had an idea for a FU memory issues tattoo and took it to the studio that did my last one. Gave them the brief and general idea and was booked in for a day session. 

On Saturday I had that session and after a chat to the tattoo artist the idea changed a bit, keeping the core image, but turned into a half sleeve. 7 1/2 hours later I’ve got the majority of a tattoo done and need to go back in January to finish it off, only 3 hours more work. 

And I’m really pleased with the result so far, the ideas he had work really well and even though it hurt like hell to have done in glad I did it. Roll on January 23rd


Oct 23 2015

Just get out of my head

Mr Stuff

I’ve mentioned before that music can be a trigger for me, it can kick off emotions that I have no context for and generally leave me confused.

The biggest example of this is the following song

About the time I noticed my memory was failing this popped into my head from nowhere and seems intent on staying. I have no idea where it came from as I’m not known for my love of squishy love songs, much preferring some angry German industrial. Judging by the video its from 4 Weddings, a film I know I’ve never seen and never will (can’t stand Hugh Grant) so no idea where it came from.

I’m trying hard to replace it with an ear worm better suited to me but this keeps popping in. Must try harder

Oct 25 2013

Farewell old me

Mr Stuff

Since my last post I’ve had more interest in my CV, which has been welcome. I that interest I’ve got one job that I’m still in the running for, at Microsoft no less.
Then today I had a call from one of the peeps over at OPM, a games recruiter, and a very frank and eye opening conversation happened. Given the big hole in my CV and the speed that the industry moves there is little chance of me getting back into games. So I’m left with a decision: whether to keep trying or deal with the fact that games testing is what I used to do and move on.
I’m still contracting to one developer on their current project but am thinking more and more that my future is elsewhere. So I think I’ll focus on non-games and non-testing roles, I don’t really have the relevant technical skills, and see where I get to

Oct 22 2013

There’s a hole in my shoe

Mr Stuff

And all that I knew was
The hole in my shoe which
Was letting in water

I’ve been keeping up with applying for jobs all over the place and given the results it seems I have a metaphorical hole in my shoe, the 5 years off work being ill.

While looking through other people’s CV’s in the past I’ve always gone with the theory that it doesn’t matter what your qualifications are, the most important thing is what you’ve been doing for the last 5 years. For me that’s been some work, a lot of vomiting and a lot of early nights. It’s a massive pain since before this illness I had a pretty much unbroken period of work covering 15 years of building a career in games QA that is pretty much dead now.

I’ve applied for a number of mobile games QA jobs, and not one of them has even given me an interview, not one. Given that for 5 years or so before I became ill I was running a successful mobile QA department you can kind of see why I’m a bit pissed about it.

As I’ve mentioned previously all of the other QA jobs I’ve been seeing all require programming skills since a lot of them use automated tools. I’m slowly learning my way around Selenium, one of the tools, but really don’t think that’s where my future lies. While I’ll keep an eye out for QA jobs I’m applying for all kinds of other stuff as well and will see how it goes.

There aren’t many ways of measuring your worth like applying for jobs and having people review your CV, and if the past few weeks are anything to go by I am worth fuck all.

Sep 19 2013

A dinosaur in the technology age

Mr Stuff

I’ve been testing games since 1992, I’m good at it and really enjoy the work. But recently I’ve had to look for QA jobs outside games, mainly due to commuting, and am surprised at what I’m finding. Automation.

I know of, and am learning, Selenium for testing web stuff but there are so many more testing suites that developers are wanting their testers to learn, and of course the programming languages to go with them. So now most QA jobs require C#, C++ or Java to be able to drive these tools, as well as £750 worth of ISTQB certification, but it still pays as badly as it always has. Within games QA has always been an entry level position with the progression through the department into a Producer role but that’s just in the games industry. Outside it the role seems to still be deemed an entry level dev job but the experience and skill levels required are well above entry level.

Suffice to say I don’t know C in any form and will see how my Selenium playing goes, but it seems that my 15 years of active QA isn’t enough to get me in the door in most cases. I have had 2 interviews with the same company in the last few weeks but haven’t heard back after the 2nd interview, and I’m thinking the lack of communication is telling me their answer.

So my choices are to learn a whole bunch of stuff that I’ve never needed before to stay in QA or move away from QA and see what else I can find

Jun 26 2013

Tough, really tough

Mr Stuff

I’m a little way into this job hunt and as expected there isn’t a lot about, but I’m still applying for a good few things in the hope that someone takes an interest.

The problem though is my experience. Back in 1992 I had an interview for a QA position in  games company, got the job and was pretty much employed in games until 2007, when I fell ill, and that’s the problem. Outside the games industry I’ve got little experience in doing stuff properly, there are the bits I’ve picked up and stuff I’ve done in the last year or so, but really anyone outside games will look at my CV and shrug their shoulders. Since 1992 I’ve only had 2 interviews, one for a non-games QA job and one for a games QA job that was mostly based in Poland (I only found out at interview), all the rest of my jobs have come from mates that know what I can do.

So as well as having mostly games based QA skills, and no interview experience I’ve not had to dust off my CV since 2002 or so. All leaving me lacking in the jobs market.

No wonder I’ve been getting more depressed lately…

Apr 23 2013


Mr Stuff

Last night I made it out to a local pub to support Mrs Stuff who was taking part in a burlesque dancing show, all well and good. It was hot in the little room, really hot, but that was OK as I had a cold beer. The whole show was being run by a drag queen, who was quite an imposing figure, and everytime she came through the crowd looking for volunteers I sank in my seat, but it wasn’t enough.

For obvious get out if needed reasons I was sat at the end of a row and got picked for an audience participation bit. Reluctantly I got up and got on stage to hear Mrs Stuff from offstage exclaim “That’s my husband!”. So I stood there with 3 other “volunteers” who were arranged around the stage until the performance started.

The woman who was doing the performance knew that I was on the agoraphobic side and didn’t really want to be on stage, so very early in the act she put a piece of clothing over my head. I think it’s kinda like when people catch animals and put towels over their heads so they don’t get too scared, but it worked. I have no idea what happened in the performance but felt more at ease with my head covered.

Anyway after it was all over and I sat back down I was shaking for a good 2 hours or so but actually felt good that I’d done something so far outside my comfort zone and nothing bad happened. So in a way it *might* have kinda been a good thing :)

Nov 21 2011


Mr Stuff

Last month my pesky illness stopped me from seeing VNV Nation at an extremely local venue, it’s well within my safe zone, and I was a little annoyed about that. So when I learnt that KMFDM were also going to be at the same venue I was determined to go. I had a ticket bought for me by a very kind Eor, for kitty sitting duties, so all I needed to do was get myself there. And that was the tough bit.

I started getting really anxious about it and my guts were doing flip flops, but I was so full of determination and had some very supportive comments from some of my Twitter friends, some of whom I had only been chatting to for a few days. So in the end my mind won out over my body and I went, and had an awesome time. The last time I saw KMFDM was back in ’97 so it was really good to see them again. Once the gig finished the anxiety kicked back in and I really had to leave, but I left with a sense of pride in myself for going.

Then on Saturday there was a knock on my door, it was my good mate Becky who had been out to a pub after the gig and caught sight of some of the band. So she had a chat with them and turned up with some of their signatures, which I have now framed and can be seen below. That really made my day.