Friday, 29 October 2010

Signing on

It's signing on day and, as usual, the last three nights have been spent not sleeping worrying about what indignities I have to go through when I hit the DWP building.

Unemployment is stressing me out in a way I never thought possible. I"m a child of Thatcher, I spent much of the 80's un employed or underemployed, but now, having worked and having been to University to get a degree, unemployment is hitting me really hard.

I don't think I've been this down in years; I hate having to be berated for not wanting to do basic English and Maths courses as I've got Open University modules in both at a higher level, I don't see the point, but apparently this means I"m unwilling to find work; I hate being looked at like I've just crawled from the sewer; I hate being treated like I"m trying to screw the government and steal money and I hate being told how to find jobs when I"ve been working longer than the mindless grunts on the front line.

Unemployment is making me ill. I do not want to be unemployed. I do not want to be patronised or treated like shit simply because I've just left University.

Today is likely to be unpleasant as I've now been unemployed for 12 weeks. At 13 weeks, you have to do a course on how to find work. I know how to find work. This particular course involves being sat in a room with 15 people all of whom have to look for work using a cranky computer. Just one, between 16. I look for work everyday using my mac. I don't need to be bored out of my skull waiting for 15 others to do it. 2 weeks of this. Fucking outrageous.

Sunday, 24 October 2010

The Curse of Channel One - Voyager Boobs.

Despite popular opinion, I was always very fond of Star Trek: Voyager and I've started watching it again on Channel One nee Virgin One. There are three distinct phases of voyager: pre-Seven of Nine, pre-Naomi Wildman and, "oh no not another Naomi Wildman Episode".

But this isn't really what I want to talk about.

Is anyone else having problems with Channel One? The signal seems to be extremely compressed and causes some weird effects to be displayed when watching live. What seems to be happening is that whenever there is a dark scene (which happens a lot in Voyager), the picture doesn't fully refresh and the TV gets confused as to where the edges of objects are.

Rather disturbingly, it's most noticeable on Seven of Nine's Boobs. More times that I care to count, Seven of Nine's boobs have stayed stock still and the rest of her body has rotated round them. It occasionally happens with Janeways face, her head revolving around her features and it could be happening to Chakotay, although given the wooden expression normally, it's difficult to tell.

But Jeri Ryan's pneumatic boobs were disturbing enough without having this extra level of weird. Maybe she has borg boob implants and they're doing some energy scans or something. They should be checking for structural integrity and other anomalies cause that ain't right.

I always suspected boobs had a life of their own. Brrrrrr :-(

So why would Channel One sabotage their own output by transmitting such an appalling signal? And why the rebranding to Channel One? It's an awfully generic name. Are they trying to steal BBC ones thunder? Are they sudden'y embarrassed by 'Virgin'? How strange to disassociated yourself with one of the most recognisable brands in the UK.

Saturday, 23 October 2010

It's getting worse

I"m noted for being terrified of clowns. I mean, sometimes hysterically terrified if I"m approached by one. They genuinely scare the living shit out of me. Coulrophobia is a weird thing. A lot people find clowns a bit creepy. I find them utterly, utterly terrifying. I've noticed something peculiar of late, mind you. My phobia is getting worse and expanding to anyone who hides their face and wears a costume in public. This includes things like charity collectors, people on fun runs, cosplay, etc....

Why? I"m baffled!

I was once accosted by a mime on Briggate in Leeds. Leeds is plagued with buskers. I was in a pretty foul mood anyway and this bloody mime starts pretending to sweep stuff across my path. Generally just getting in the way. I warned him not to fuck with me as I wasn't in the mood and he put his hands up smiled in apology and walked away...except he came back in what I presume he thought was an endearing way and annoyed the crap out of me again. He didn't take the hint and I shouted at him. He put his hands up in apology yadda yadda yadda....and back for a third round of annoying me.

At this point I clearly and calmly state "Once more, and I punch your fucking lights out".

By this time, a number of the other buskers had become interested and wandered over. The mime hung back and, in an almost suicidal display of completely misreading the situation, came back for a fourth and final round of comedy sweeping.

I punched his fucking lights out.

I"m not a violent man. I"m really not. In my entire life, I've probably hit fewer people than I have fingers on either of my hands. But he deserved it. A clown; an annoying twat; a bad mood; an irrational fear. This is not a good mix.

The clown hit the floor and then started shouting at me. As it turned out, he was an unlicensed busker and the other buskers were incredibly pissed off with him for taking away their trade. When he hit the floor, I got a round of applause.

Call me Mime Slayer...

No picture this time...can't face clowns/mimes.


I'm a fat old bugger and find it really difficult to buy nice clothes in my size. I'm fed up to the back teeth of MArks and Spencers stuff - which is the only town centre shop to do things off the peg in my size - despite some of the stuff actually being quite nice. I was delighted to discover the Next do large sizes through their catalogue and I've been getting the odd thing from them of late. I found them when search for some new black and orange gloves online.

Anyway, I ordered a Jacket the other day and arranged for it to be delivered on Friday Morning. On Thursday evening, I got a call saying it had been sent to the wrong depot and would be a couple of days late. No problem, I arranged for it to come on Tuesday instead and shifted what I was doing on Tuesday morning to Friday Morning. When I got in on Friday afternoon, my jacket had arrived and been dumped on my front door.

I then received a phonecall from Customer Services to tell me that my coat will be delivered on Tuesday ! I pointed out I already had it and they said I couldn't possibly have it.

I said it was a bit of a disaster and that I'd been kept on the phone for 25 mins last night ostensibly for no reason and they said they'd reimburse me £5 for the cost of the phone call. I pointed out that they called me, but they were insistent. They'd also reimburse my postage charge. So I've got a coat I wanted on the delivery dates specified and now have £9 off. Something weird is going on. Karma is beginning to swing my way in small stages. I say this purely because it's the second instance today of getting something cheap or free. I got a free coffee in Starbucks this morning, too....

Friday, 22 October 2010

Today is a bad day.

Okay, I've suffered from depression since I was 14. It's borderline bipolar apparently, which explains the years of productivity followed by years of pretty much being unable to move. I"m in the grip of a fairly debilitating downswing at the moment which is being exacerbated by a catalogue of shite over the last 3 years that I've never really recovered from. You know when you get a day off and sods law demands you get flu? I'm sort of suffering from a massive dose of that at the moment.

I suppose I'm processing all the crap that happened while at university including the horror of the actual course, the deaths of 7 friends over the it's three years, breaking my wrist and thus fundamentally changing my artistic output, the treatment I received at the hands of senior staff, Mum contracting cancer and when all that was over and done with, losing a promised job the day before it was due to start, finding an artistic collaborator - a very good friend of many years - and getting genuinely excited about doing art with him only to have some drunk driver smash into his bike and kill him. Then there's the house in Leeds.

Given the state of things, I'm extremely bitter about having spent so much money to do a degree that isn't worth the paper it's printed on, being in so much debt because of it and still being jobless and in the worst financial state I've ever been in.

So if I'm a bit offish, miserable and look like I'm about to kill you. . . it's probably going through my mind, actually...

I stand by my description of myself as being a misanthropist hippy. I love humanity, I just hate the people....

Now kindly fuck off.

Thursday, 21 October 2010

Overheard Bus Conversation #29

"We had a big roast Dinner yesterday"
"Roasted Beef with every vegetable you could imagine"
"Yeah. Peas, beans AND carrots"
"No roast potatoes?"
"Well, yeah, but they're a fruit."

Raised Eyebrow . . .

I have a job interview.


Wednesday, 20 October 2010

germ free adolescent by sex patels

germ free adolescent by sex patels

Truly fantastic version of the X-Ray Spex Classic

More Carpet stuff and Tourettes

Okay. So the new carpet went down in one piece. The carpeter goes back to the contractor, gives him our house keys back and is promptly sacked.

I'm not sure how I feel about this.

I mean, he apologised and paid for the replacement carpet out of his own cash; that would have done for me, but I guess the contractor has a reputation to consider and he is a very good contractor. Hmmm....


How did Victorian/Edwardian Tourettes manifest?

I have strange visions of well to do men screaming 'LAWKS', 'BLIMEY', 'CRIKEY', at inopportune moments. . .

Employment Agencies. What's the point, exactly?

When my job at the University fell through, the first thing I did was sign up with Barna Shields, a temp agency.
In three months, they've sent me for one job. Unfortunately, it was for a call centre which for a variety of dyslexia related issues, I can't do. I'd even told them this and not to send me for call centre jobs.

They told me it was administrative support for a call centre, not an actual call centre job but on arriving for the interview it was apparent after 5 mins of very pleasant and positive interview that this was a call centre job.

I put a stop to the interview, said thank you very much but no thanks.

Subsequently, I've signed up for another three agencies and received a grand total of no job interviews. So what exactly are they for?

And why am I signing up to Brook Street today?


Stupid Carpet Fitter

In an addendum to the previous story, we had an email last night from the contractor.

The carpet fitter didn't replace the carpet yesterday. As he's being made to pay for it himself, he wondered if we'd mind if the hall carpet was fitted in two sections. Apparently the carpet does come as wide as we ned it long, so instead of being able to buy a 1.75 piece from a roll, he'd have to buy a 4.5 metre piece. It would be bad, he said, just a join half way up the corridor.....

We said no.

The contractor said "I don't blame you"

The carpet fitter is a bit miffed.

If you fuck up someones carpet, giving a half arsed replacement is not good enough.

The value of honesty.....

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Little Blog of Calm.

In January, we paid £600 to a roofer to fix the tile, sort the flashing and repointing round the chimney and to clear the gutters out.

We moved out f the house in July, having put it on the market because we had to move back to Southampton. TUrns out, no-one can get a mortgage right now, so after dropping the price on the house and still getting nowhere, we decided to prepare it for renting out.

The house had been empty for a couple of months, so we were expecting it to be a bit cold. We did not expect it to be wet.
There was a massive leak in the bedroom ceiling and the carpet beneath was sodden. We called a different roofer out, one that the estate agent had recommended and he came to look very promptly. He got his ladders out, went up on the roof and told us that none of the work we'd paid for had been done. Moreover, we had a tree growing through the roof.

Now, I'm sure you're sat there thinking "well why didn't they go into the attic and check?" Well, the attic is inaccessible until such time as we build stairs up to it, so the only way we could get to it at the moment is via the roof. A previous owner had actually sealed the access point up, you see. Anyway, attempts to contact the previous roofers were fruitless. We had been royally ripped off. I saw them turn up and erect the scaffolding, even made them a cup of tea and gave them some homemade cookies and the bastards just sat there all day and did nothing.

TO add insult to injury, that weekend it decided to piss down like nothing on earth. So much so that the sewers couldn't handle it - not having been looked after by Yorkshire water - and they burst filling our cellar, and several more up and down the road, with either rainwater, rancid black water or raw sewage, depending on the luck of the draw. Guess which we got?

We called Yorkshire water who came round and sent people scurrying into the sewers. They came back very quickly with high pressure water jets and attempted to clear away the fat, crap and tree trunks that had accumulated in the sewers. Bearing in mind that it was the wettest day of the year, many people were flooded out - I felt particularly sorry for our next door neighbours who had just converted their cellar to a beautiful kitchen - and the main drainage was leaking, we couldn't work out why, after 30 minutes, they stopped and disappeared. We called Yorkshire Water again and they told us that 'they had run out of water'. Irony, thou art a heartless bitch.

Now, unfortunately, we had to leave to get back to Southampton but arranged for the carpets to be replaced and the cellar to be cleaned out out. We got back the following weekend and the carpets were laid in the hall and up the stairs . . . a bit bland for my tastes but okay for rental. People who rent don't do colours, apparently. Anyway, we noticed that one of the grips had been installed incorrectly and instead of it being one sided, they put a two sided one down and left large shards of metal sticking up through the carpet. We contacted the contractor who said he'd get someone to sort it out. No probs, so we set about painting the kitchen floor. We did all but one small space that we couldn't get to and decided to leave it til the following weekend to finish.

The contractor phoned us on Wednesday to say the job had been finished. We came back the following Friday and didn't even look at the grip assuming it to be done. Andy finished the painting and we left, settng the alarm. When we got back after seeing friends, we noticed that the alarm was off and got a bit worried. No contractors should have the key and the estate agent wasn't supposed to go in without informing us.

To our horror, we discovered that there were red foot prints all over the new carpet. It turns out that the carpet fitter had lied to the contractor about finishing the job. He hadn't given the keys back, despite several requests and didn't know we were going to being on Saturday. He also hadn't banked on there being wet paint around.

What absolutely baffles me is that on discovering he'd traipsed red paint through the house, ruining the carpets he laid the previous week, he finished the job. He didn't stop and call the contractor to say what had happened, he didn't call us to say what he'd done, he just carried on and finished the job.

It's not like we wouldn't have noticed and pretty pointless finishing a job that he'd completely screwed up. It took a number of calls to sort out what had happened, including one frightening one to the estate agent who admitted that they hadn't a clue where the house keys were - but it has been sorted. The contractor was amazing and was round sorting the problem out in minutes. His sub-contractor faired less well.

The house is now ready to be rented out, but what a farce!

Know anyone who wants to rent in Leeds?

Thursday, 14 October 2010

Land of the Living?

Not really. The catalogue of recent disasters is voluminous and has left me in a very fragile state.
Watch my slide into madness . . . it all starts here . . .