Thursday, December 25, 2008

Monocles, Pocketwatches and Mutton Chops

Posting on Christmas day eh? I can't decide if that's tragic or noble. Probably a combination of the two. I'm taking a break from the seasonably induced over-eating to try and digest a bit before the forth (or is it fifth) large meal of the day.

It's been a good Christmas so far, I've got lots of exciting gifts including my first monocle and various motorbike related garments which are delightful. What do you buy the chap who already has several sets of motorcycle gloves for a range of seasons? Why thermal inner gloves of course!

I've also received an electric razor, I've never used one before so it was a bit confusing a first, sort of like mowing your face. Still it does a pretty good job of trimming the ol' facial fluff and sideburns. I think to celebrate the new device I'm going to grow a meaty pair of mutton chops. Oh yes indeed.

In other present news my little brother requested a pocket watch as his main gift from our mother. I had no idea that the practice of out-dated time pieces had rubbed off on him but I was very impressed. So impressed that if I had been wearing my monocle at the time it would have probably dropped off while I said 'by jove' in surprise.

The only mild downer is that the Hitchcock Blonde isn't here, which isn't to say she is far away - she is at her parents place - which is only a drive away but as I've been hitting the champagne rather hard today I don't think I should be going near any sort of car, or motorbike no matter how thermally protected my hands are. Blast.

Still I'm sure a cup of the fancy tea the Hitchcock Blonde gave me will help me pass the time. It's supposed to be the 'Prince of Teas' I'm not sure what this means, perhaps it will be short, overtly sexual and purple?

Monday, December 22, 2008

You can't always get what you want.

This year has been one of transformations. It's weird how some years can pass and nothing will be changed apart from underpants and the occasional partner. Other years involve such massive alterations that by the end of it you hardly recognise yourself.

I'm not talking haircuts and shoes here. Some of these changes are deeper than that. It's like I've spent the last two years lost in the wilderness of the sports department trying to find a lift to somewhere else like Menswear or Household goods. Yes, in the department store of life I've been in the wrong section, or at least hidden behind a big stack of jumpers.

Which is an over complictaed way of saying I'm looking forward to 2009.

Friday, December 19, 2008


Today was a day of ups and downs. I discovered I'd still not been paid for my previous work, yes still. Which as you can imagine started the day off badly. So badly in fact that I could feel the first twinges of a headache building and I felt like just giving up. I'm not sure what I was going to 'give up' on but definitely something.

It turns out that all the people I'd spoken to were desperately trying to rush through the payment but it had to go through an accounts deparment in Gateshead who had been slacking off all week and then decided to work a half day and get drunk at their Christmas lunch rather than pay poor chaps so they could get Christmas Presents.

Not a good day. Thankfully a chum offered to lend me some cash until I get paid and so I'll be able to get presents and visit the family. *phew*.

With this emergency dealt with the chap I've been working for put on a serious face and said he wanted to have a chat. Oh no!

This chat turned out to be a job offer. The money is good, but slightly less than I (rather cheekly) asked for and to make up for this they are going to include a company bike. HURRAH.

So I used my last 80p in the whole world to buy a gingerbread man as there are times when a chap has to splash out on baked goods to mark special occasions. Special occasions like landing a great job in an office that is fun to be in in a company with room to grow doing something you love. And also landing a job that you know would make your Dad's eyes go all twinkley with pride if he knew about it.

Yes that's the sort of day when you buy gingerbread.

Pay day..

I woke up this morning feeling rather good. I'd been promised by the
accounts department that i'd be paid by today so I could finally buy
Christmas presents and other fancy things like food.

Alas it's not arrived yet. So I'm going to be having a lunch of cups
of tea ( they are free ) and I'll be walking home tonight.

We are not amused.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Bad plug

The plug on the train is broken so no messing around on the interspaz
on the way into work for me.

Did I miss anything?

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Magic train

Well commuting on the fast train really is a different experience. One could, if pushed call it almost pleasurable. Well almost. It's still quite a long train journey. The trip home is amazing though, amazing compared to the slow train. It took 45 minutes, instead of at least 2 hours plus. This made the trip just like a long slog across the underground rather than an epic journey across the country.

I'm enjoying my return to office life, and I find it amusing that somethings never change, like that the people on reception are always slightly drunk with power because they can send out an email to the whole building. I also like the polite yet meaningless conversations you have while making a cup of tea in the kitchen.

It's a very blokey office, actually it's the most manly office imaginable. It's so testostorne filled that it even affects the women few women on our floor. They dress like chaps, talk like chaps and have short hair. This all makes a marked change because the last office I was in was mostly women.

In fact this office is so manly that some of the chaps have proper 'tashes, big bushy ones. Maybe I should grow one to fit in.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Being Hardcore

Yesterday was a troubling day. After talking to the Berk at the government organisation, who was messing me about just because she couldn't be bothered to do her job, I was a bit angry. Actually it's more than that. The work I did was in November, and immediate payment had been agreed and I had decided that this job would pay for Christmas.

Since The Berk is being so awful about paying I may not get to have a Christmas. And I mean that in a real sense, I won't be able to get presents for anyone and I won't be able to go home and visit my family. This is why I hate the Berk.

Anyway, after dealing with the Berk I was a bit irked and I ended up having a pretty bad migraine attack at work. Headache, messed up vision, feeling sick, the works. Since I'm on a contract and it takes more than a while to get home I just stuck it out even when my vision went making, me almost blind. I carried on working using the magic of touch typing to do my work which is pretty hard core I think. If Chuck Norris worked in an office he'd do that.

You may notice that this post isn't justified in a weird way. I've gone for a different train ticket this week, the luxurious fast train which means I'm travelling in style with free-wifi and on a far, far faster train but ticket costs more than a week's rent. So not a total win really.

At 9am I'll be phoning the Berk again to find out what is going on, I've instigated Operation Stalk where I'm going to phone them at least twice a day for updates now. It seems to be the only way I'll get paid and very in the keeping of the spirit of Christmas. Ho Ho ho


I am posting from my iPhone which means the text gets justified in a
strange way as if I was a would-be poet.

I am not a poet, I am just struggling with the formating that the
Iphone does. So calm down.

Anyway I have a furious rage today. Last month I did some work for a
government organisation. I had to do it very fast and that was fine.
The problem is with The stupid person in accounts, they have sat on my
invoice for three weeks. For no reason, or at least none they can give.

This person in accounts is going to ruin Christmas because they
couldn't stop eating mince pies to actually do their job.

I hate them.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Man work

Well my first week of man work is over. I like it. The office is fun,
the work is engaging and interesting and I get on with who I work
with. Also I'm doing work involving my favourite subject.

The only downside is the commute, especially the journey home. Heading
in takes about two hours but it's not too bad. I have a book and I'm
an early riser so it suits me well.

It is the journey home that causes woes. It takes at least three hours
and has taken four hours before when I was very unlucky with timings.
This means I get home and have time to eat and wash before I go to bed.

One way to make the travel easier would be to get a better ticket for
a slightly different train route which is much faster but they will
make my travel costs over 150 pounds a week which is on the edge of
making going to work counter productive.

It seems wrong that public transport is so expensive, especially since
I travel against the flow of people and I am often the only person on
the train.

Still it is smashing fun working there.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

First day at school

I had to get a tube then a train and a bus. It took a while. Actually
the journey in isn't so bad but it took me three hours to get home.
Which is a bit draining. I'm going to burn through a lot of books
working there.

The offices are entertaining, it's basically like a crèche for men. I
met someone known as Nutsack and a people were wearing football shirts
and having paperball fights. There was a fake snake on my desk and
people were having fun as well as working.

The work I was doing as fairly simple but engaging - I think they are
trying to gauge what I can do at the moment. An interview can only
show so much. In the end I was sent home early because they had run
out of things for me to work on. Which I'm going to take as a good sign.

I like it there.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Career advice with Thomas Hardy

I currently feel like I'm in a Thomas Hardy novel, and I hate Thomas Hardy. For example did you know that the character Tess of the d'Urbervilles was based on actually had a lovely life? So ol' Tom just saw someone having a lovely time and decided that wasn't on and wrote about her having an awful time instead. What a berk.

Anyway, earlier in the month I did some work for a government organisation. Actually, thinking about it, it was last month. It was really engaging and I enjoyed doing it. I worked my socks off, especially since they would be paying me by direct bank transfer and so payment would be prompt.

'The government eh?' I thought to myself 'they shouldn't have a problem paying me' and I sent off the invoice.

A week later I phoned up the accounts department and the lady said she hadn't looked at it yet but when she did she'd have to send it off and it would take a couple of weeks to sort out.

Now I understand their are various steps to paying new people on a system and things like that but seriously, two weeks? This is a rather sensitive time of year as a chap will have to go crimble shopping and so being paid before the twenty forth is important.

This late payment has taken a darkly comic turn now because well I've just landed a short-term contract at a place I'd love to work. This place is outside of London and it's going to cost me quite a bit to get there every day. Quite a bit indeed.

The combination of increased transport costs and late payment means that I may be unable to physically get to the job I have tomorrow. Yes, like some Thomas Hardy novel I've got the promise of something wonderful, and yet it's actually going a bit wonky.

Normally in a situation like this I'd either cycle to work (stolen earlier in the year) or walk but even if my bike was available this wouldn't be an option because this job is really far away. I'm not sure what my options are, I could try and sneak on the train but I have a special super human ability to always get caught when breaking the law so that is unlikely to work.

Oh and for a bit of extra Christmas cheer the accounts deparment at this new job have already hinted that they might not be able to pay me before Christmas. Ho Ho Ho.

Fuck you Thomas Hardy.

The case of the bad egg

Human beings are rather predictable, or at least they appear to be. In a place I used to work I'd occasionally have to deal with people trying to cheat the company out of things, sort of. Anyway, the people who pulled these stunts would always use the same tricks.

We'd get a wide sample of the population calling us but there were only about three or four things they would try. I don't think this was because of some online guide to cheating but it was just the way humans worked.

The other way humans are predictable is in relationships. Although strangely you can never see it in your own relations. Perhaps the fug of lust means you are unable to be rational about them? Who knows.

Either way on someone else's relationship it it easy to spot a bad egg, especially once you know the signs. I'd say it's ten times easier to spot male bad egg, but perhaps that's just because I'm a chap so I know how we work and the sort of rubbish we try to get away with. I mention this because I have a very good chum who met a chap. He seemed like an okay sort, in my limited contact and then the situation changed and he started to give off a slight whiff before descending into a stink.

I won't go into the facts, but let's just say that he turned out to be a very bad egg indeed. The thing about bad eggs is they don't get good again and this is a very important lesson indeed. I had to learn this with an egg called A but now I have the knowledge it seems worth while.

So what I'm saying is that if a chap or a chapette acts like an utter berk, treats you like crap or does thoughtless things (that's usually the best way of spotting them when they do something awful but seemingly don't realise it) then just throw them away. Even if you really fancy them and just the thought of them being near makes your knees go all wobbly, bin them.

They won't change, they aren't going to 'see the light' and become a better person, not without something major happening to them like losing a limb. You shouldn't put up with this sort of behaviour and they just aren't worth wasting time over. Once a bad egg always a bad egg.

Oh and this is MOST definitely not about The Hitchcock Blonde because she is lovely and everything is going terribly well there. The closest she gets to being a bad egg is her scrambling skills and they have come on brilliantly in the last few weeks.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008


Well macho company have got back to me and said that they would love to have me onboard but the parent company is letting some people go and so while this is happening they can't employ new people. Or at least until it's been proved that the current people they have don't have the skills they need.

While they didn't think that they would find anyone, the internal searching would take a while and he said it probably wasn't worth waiting but that he'd love to stay in touch. He also said that he had some contract work coming up if I was up for it for a few weeks.

I said yes. So I'll probably (I'm just waiting for the official confirmation) be starting at the macho job next week. Just before crimbo. My plan, and I did say this to the chap I'd be working for is to show them what I can do and hopefully they will take me on anyway. He agreed with this.

Even if the contact work doesn't extend beyond a couple of weeks it will be some handy cash, give me more time to find something else and give me some excellent contacts. And it has the possibility of leading on to something more permanent which would also be good.

The only downside is Piqued will probaby never speak to me again.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Secret Cinema

The Hitchcock Blonde took me to a Secret Cinema event on Friday and it was spiffing. I would have posted about this earlier but in a rare turn of events I left my laptop at home instead of carting it up to London.

If you've not heard of Secret Cinema they are an organisation who show films in secret locations (You don't know about the location until the day of the showing) and who put a bit of work into making the experience a bit more that just sitting down and eating popcorn.

We still didn't know what the film was going to be as we queued up but when a Rick Moranis look a-like ran past shouting 'there is a bear chasing me' we worked out it was Ghostbusters.

The Royal Horticultural Hall had been taken over as a location and turned into the hotel from Ghostbusters. Parts of it had been transformed into a library, the GhostBuster offices and they even had the funny dog things and a fridge with a temple in it. There seemed to be a cast of hundreds of people running around playing various parts from the film and the fact that the set dressing was slightly low-fi really added to the fun. The chap playing Egon was a spitting image of the one from the film but the rest of the Ghostbusters were a bit, well I wasn't sure which one was Dan Akroyd and which was Bill Murray.

Ghostbusters is a classic film so I was happy to see it again and all the people dressed up was really good fun but I think if I was going to go to Secret Cinema again I'd want to know what they were showing first.

I don't think I'd quite so easily watch Dirty Dancing or even the Princess Bride. I should point that the only reason I mention the latter is because I've seen it a bit too many times.

If the shoe fits

Well I had another interview last night. I was prepared with some fairly exhaustive research on the company and their website, plus their competitors. I made sure I was tanked up to the gills with coffee so that I was a whizzing cog of knowledge full of useful views and anecdotes.

It went okay. The person interviewing talked about themselves for 95% of the time and then asked a load of stupid questions. While they were whiffling on I had another look at the job specification that prepared and it dawned on me that it was mostly nonsense. In short, this person was a bit of a berk.

It wasn't that I didn't like them, more that after a 30 minute phone interview I didn't want to work for them. This feeling wasn't just based on the fact they used synergy two dozen times or that they kept using technical terms in the wrong way. This was something else. It was more that I could already tell that they are the sort of person who doesn't really 'get' what they are doing. This isn't such a huge problem, I suppose a reason to get me in is to deal with that sort of thing it's more that she was gauging the success of their company on something that had nothing to do with success.

So for example, instead of measuring a shoe shop on how many shoes it sells she would measure it on if one random person said they liked their shoes. Which measuring system is most likely to get a true indication of the success of the shop?

That wasn't a perfect analogy but I think it gets across the point. It's not a shoe company by the way, or anything to do with fashion.

I am looking for a job very hard, and it seems morally wrong to say no to something but I don't know if I want to be working for that sort of person. I have had experience of this before and it was a nightmare. It's a bit of a shame though, as the money was excellent.