Being unemployed is incredibly boring. I write as much as I can inspiration to, apply for jobs and promote my writing; there are many hours in the day and that only takes up so many. It's hard to keep a routine without anything except myself to keep control of it.
I also care a lot about animals, poverty and charity, so to kill two birds with one stone (so to speak) I've begun volunteering at the local PDSA charity shop.
I will add my volunteering shifts to my work calendar, as I am due to start working Tuesday and Thursday mornings. I'll have a clear wake up call two out of five weekdays, which has to be a good thing. This won't take up all my time, and I'm still open for all work offers!
I recently received some professional advice on Aeron Reviews Films. The person knows my writing, and said that my film reviews are fairly neutral, and that my voice doesn't come through as much as it should; film reviews are a medium where enthusiasm and opinion shouldn't be held back, and personal voice is the attraction.
In light of this, I'm going to be rewriting some of my older reviews to get more of my voice in them, and to make sure I haven't held back on how I feel about those films. Don't worry, though, as I've been keeping to my new years' resolution so have plenty of new films to review. It won't all be film reviews, either, as I have plenty of ideas for articles to post on my Wordpress and some articles to submit to online magazines.
As always, recommendations and suggestions of online magazines to write for are very welcome.
Happy belated new year! Today is the first of February; many people have already given up on their over-ambitious new year's resolution but I'm going strong. My new year's resolution is to watch one film each week that I've never seen before. That means lots of reviews over on Aeron Reviews Films, as I still have some 2015 views to review and watched seven new films in January alone!
I'm still watching films I've already seen, too, so please feel free to request film reviews without worrying if it's one I've seen before. I'm quite open and honest about having not seen a film no matter how classic or 'me' it is, so don't be afraid to ask me. For example, I've never seen The Blair Witch Project, Citizen Kane or Die Hard, and only finally saw Pulp Fiction as part of my resolution.
I had been holding off and trying to keep my gender and interest in LGBTQ issues and especially trans issues away from my professional presence. It took being advised by multiple people that I should focus my writing on something I know about that's not well known and being advised by one of those people that that thing was probably trans issues for me for decide.
I have already submitted an article to an online magazine/article site called Offbeat Bride - keep an eye out for it, it was accepted immediately! - and written an article for my WordPress, both on non binary issues. It seems like a good career choice after all; while I'm almost certainly shutting some doors, I'm opening a fair few others.
It struck me as a good time to be open as non binary myself, too, change the wording and pronouns on this site, and add an explanation page. If you have any questions, feel free to ask me. After all, an FAQ is an article.
For the past 6 weeks I've been on a pre-apprenticeship IT course at Holts Academy. After two weeks of 'boot camp' and a crash course in networking and programming, we had four weeks of detailed lessons and applied for apprenticeships.
I've refreshed my skills HTML and CSS, and made a couple of websites as part of the course. Perhaps you can tell buy the tweaks I've been making to my various sites! I've also been learning Python and trying to make a text adventure game, and learning a little bit of Java. Hopefully as I improve these new skills I can begin to create my online web magazine or work with someone to create a better quality one than I could on my own.
As for the possibility of an IT apprenticeship, I am currently attending some interviews, so watch this space. It would give me less time to write, but more money and more opportunities to have things to write about.
After a very disappoint and even upsetting night out at Bar Soho, I wrote an article reviewing the bar. Annoyed at our treatment, I wanted to get my article out to as wide and targetted an audience as possible, so I joined trip advisor and posted it there.
When I had a fantastic night out at Dalston Superstore the following week, I thought it only right to use my new review platform and post a review of that.
Having two Trip Advisor reviews up, I decided to make a Media page on this website, to showcase these, previous and hopefully future times my writing has been published elsewhere. Doing both of these has motivated me to write more reviews, so keep an eye on my Trip Advisor profile, or the media page!
I recently made a CV page, and through my current IT course I discovered simple free websites to create infographic and video CVs.
The CV page has my journalistic, volunteering and other work, my education and my skills. It's part of this website, too, meaning I was limited in design freedom but able to include more information.
The infographic CV, created on vizualize.me, took the information from my LinkedIn profile, which I edited and added to. I had a lot of design freedom within the templates offered, but can only add certain information.
The video CV, created on PowToon, runs through my experience, education, skills and contact details in an animated presentation. This one had the most freedom, and I enjoyed using the animated characters, but the powerpoint style meant the CV is a summary.
Last week, I went to various digital employers and learn new skills, learn about how various companies and technologies work, and meet with successful businesspeople, recruiters, and other people in similar situations to me. This amazing opportunity was organised by Ed Baker from TechMix magazine, and along with MK and photography Emma Tarrant I cannot say thank you enough for the experience.
Before I begin, I'll add that Ed spent most of the week reminding us to connect on twitter and use the #TechCampUK hashtag, so feel free to look through my twitter; I followed everyone involved (including fellow TechCamp-ers). All the fantastic pictures Emma took will be going in TechMix magazine, which we will all receive a copy of. Some of Emma's and many of our own are also on twitter, if you don't want to wait (or only see pictures that include me).
On Monday we went to Mindshare, a media agency which is part of Group M. It was interesting learning the difference between an ad agency (who create adverts - the what) and a media agency (who facilitate ad campaigns - the where, the how, the when); learning how the internet has changed both how advertising is bought, placed and categorised, and how advertising affects us; learning about the entire concept of a media planner. They also gave us CV and job application advice from the Group M recruitment team, which was fantastic and included things I would never have realised.
On Tuesday we went to Fujitsu, who talked about the internet of things (IoT), how systems are made, maintained and serviced, and (importantly) how security for those works. In teams, we came up with our own IoT-inspired service for the elderly, considering how we would make, market and maintain our products, considering support, price and security. At the end of the day, we were able to pitch our ideas to the Fujitsu team. As much as this was a great chance to get the feel for real office presentation, it was a chance to be entertaining: our product was named FRIJitsu, many teams punned on Fujitsu, and there was even a prize for best "Humorous Presentation".
I'm not going to lie; Wednesday was the day I had been looking forward to the most. We went to FabLab, a fabrication laboratory which has 3D printers, laser cutters and various high tech tools, and does school groups, free sessions and membership. We knew we would be learning about the machines and do a 'tear-down' of a home printer. It was a fascinating day, and we all were excited about the prospect of booking ourselves into the free sessions after TechCamp. The renewability of such cutting edge technology is amazing. Not only did they explain how the 3D printers print replacement parts for other machines and even themselves but as we took apart the printer, they explained how each part can be reused and even the plastic can be melted down and made into reels for 3D printing.
On Thursday we went to HP. It was really interesting hearing about their history of innovation and upcoming split into Hewlett Packard Enterprises and HP Inc, especially the invention of the scientific calculator and the 2013 Guiness World Record for the fastest printer, but the highlight of the day was the demonstration of Sprout. An incredible new computer that scans objects as 3D in 17 seconds, we were shown a few of the things you can do with Sprout and its touchscreen pad by the person who created it. My notes from that are a series of photos and a scribbled "I want one", which sums up how impressive it was!
On Friday we went to Sapient, a pairing of Sapient Global Markets and Sapient Nitro. In the morning, Sapient Global Markets explained how apps and similar things are made, and how important user experience (or UX) is. In groups, we were given a brief for an energy monitoring app, and went through the research, mindmapping, idea forming and designing steps, then presenting to the room. This time, it wasn't a competition; just as we had each mindmapped our own interpretations, functions and designs before comparing and combining as a group, the SGM team explained that the same would happen as a company to create the best of all groups' apps for the client. In the afternoon, Sapient Nitro showed us some things the company has worked on, including augmented reality items and a prototype contactless cash machine, before giving us some advice on jobs and careers - including some very transferable, succinct advice: "Don't be an arsehole" and "Give a shit".
Friday, and the whole week, ended with a networking event. Apprenticeship and training groups, and even some recruitment agencies, came to the Sapient offices to give us the opportunity to meet them in person and share contact details. Unfortunately, many apprenticeship schemes aren't available to graduates, as they won't receive government funding for people who they have funded to be trained to a higher level already. I still found useful information about other possible training, and spoke to recruiters. With my bag filled with leaflets and business cards, I went home feeling as if my head were overflowing with information, and slightly sad it was all over.
I've finally got around to creating a professional twitter account - @aeron_gray - so please feel free follow me and contact me on there.
Just like my facebook, this twitter account currently includes punctuation. While facebook gives you a URL and lets you edit it once you have 25 'fans', twitter has no such restriction - the current issue is a seemingly unused account on @aerongray, so I am currently in contact with twitter to see if I can have the username transferred.
As is clear from the change of site title and URL (and the change of name on wordpress and linkedin), I'm changing the name I write under to Aeron Gray.
I'm happy to answer polite questions about this, and I apologise about any now-broken links or confusion, especially with my articles in Parable magazine. Thank you for being understanding.
I've also created a facebook page and included the link for my new, film review based, article site called Aeron Reviews Films.
This is what I'm up to.