Saturday, December 17, 2011

I Know...


So, I've been away for a while.  Not really away, just away from blogging.  Busy and stuff.

I got a job.  It's a good job and I like it, even if it's not the kind of job I ever imagined myself doing.  The perks are excellent and the people are wonderful.  Our department's Christmas party was Friday.  I had my first (and second (and come to that, possibly 3rd, though I can't remember for sure)) Jagerbomb, 2 G&Ts and a glass of champagne.  With the exception of the second G&T, which a coworker bought for me, these drinks were all free, paid for by the company.  It was great to see everyone let loose, even if some of them let a little looser than they should.

I sadly did not finish my NaNoWriMo story, Quicksand in November.  I made it to about 21,000 words and couldn't manage any more.  This whole working full time thing has gotten harder since I was doing it last.  I honestly think that's just the weather, though, because I work until 6:00 and right now that means I'm there until after dark.

I sold enough shirts to get the Reactionary Motors one for my Dad for Christmas.  My dreams of having the Bitch, Please one for myself have been put on hold, but such is life.

I was just about to write about our plans to visit Slovakia over Christmas, and I realize now that I've totally neglected to say anything at all about Prague, which was wonderful and will get a whole blog post shortly.

Also, somewhere in the confusion of November and December, our flatmate, whose Internet we used and paid toward, left and the Internet was disconnected (we'd recently given him £30 to it - not impressed)

My Slovak is not improving as quickly as I'd hoped.  Need to get working on that.

I think that's all for now.  I'll post about Prague soon, and try to keep a little bit more updatey in the meantime.




Sunday, October 9, 2011

Canadian Thanksgiving in the UK

Thanksgiving has never been a huge deal for me.  I really like it, but it's never quite held the same emotional ties as, say, Christmas or Halloween.  At least it hadn't, until this year.

This is the first year I've been outside of Canada for Thanksgiving, and I'm finding it (in part because the shops have already started putting out Xmas merchandise) pretty tough.  I've recently re-broken the record for the most time spent away from my family (It has now been 8 months since I last saw any of my friends or relatives) and rather than me getting used to my homesickness, my homesickness is getting worse.  It's little things, like the fact that the stores here don't sell egg nog, or that despite going to two different grocery stores, the closest thing we'll have to cranberry sauce tonight is "Cranberry juice drink"  No one sells Brownburry Farce, or even tubs of breadcrumbs.  I did find a whole turkey, but it was one of the pre-spiced kind, so we're having chicken instead.

And yes, I know there's more to Thanksgiving than the food, but that's just it.  The food is wrong and the family and friends we're supposed to be sharing this wrong food with are thousands of miles away.

I guess I'm just feeling sorry for myself... I know I'm one of the luckiest people alive and I know I should feel nothing but grateful for all the wonder I have in my life.  I'm just... I don't even know.  Homesick.

Sorry to be such a downer on the one day we're all supposed to pull our heads out of our asses and appreciate what we have. I'll try to post a little later, when I'm in a better mood.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

NaNoWriMo makes me cry.

From NanNoWriMo's NaNo in a Nutshell:

Who: You! We can't do this unless we have some other people trying it as well. Let's write laughably awful yet lengthy prose together.
Why: The reasons are endless! To actively participate in one of our era's most enchanting art forms! To write without having to obsess over quality. To be able to make obscure references to passages from our novels at parties. To be able to mock real novelists who dawdle on and on, taking far longer than 30 days to produce their work.

Ugh.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Finest Pain. Ow.


I'm coming up with post titles by reading random things again. It actually says FINEST PAIN AU CHOCOLAT... and has, as these things often do(n't?) nothing to do with anything.

So...

The London Riots
were stupid. They seem to be over now and there is, of course, a lot of talk about what caused them. They started after Mark Duggan, a 29-year-old father of three, was shot dead by police in Tottenham. I'm not sure if this was a botched arrest or what, but what followed was a candle-light vigil two days later. The participants of that vigil marched toward the Tottenham police station. And after that, the explanation is that it "turned violent" or that "violence erupted".

The vigil makes sense. Yes, by all means, if you think a powerful group of people, especially your own government, has done something wrong, protest. By all means, be imposing, get in their way, show them how many people think what they've done is wrong, are willing to fight for justice - but how the hell does setting people's homes/cars/businesses on fire achieve anything?

And, of course, now there are people blaming the government cuts and unemployment and the rising cost-of-living and poor parenting and anything they can think of other than the little bastards that seized the opportunity to get free shit and light stuff on fire. Yeah. The government is oppressing me and treating me unfairly. Society has turned its back on me. I'm going to go steal some trainers and mug an old lady.

Waitressing
sucks, but it's getting better. I feel like I never know where I'm supposed to be. I keep getting told different things by different people and if I ask a question, a lot of the time, whoever I asked gives me a dirty look then just does what I'm supposed to be doing. Actually, a lot of the time, I literally don't know where I'm supposed to be because I now have three restaurants to work in and all my rota says is when I'm working, not where.

I really like the chefs and the kitchen porter guys. I remember a kind of rivalry between the wait staff and the kitchen staff at the last kitchen I worked in, and I'm pretty sure it had something to do with the wait staff treating us like trash. I try not to do that, to make sure I say please and thank you, regardless of how busy I am, and not to make a huge mess with the dirty dishes.

All whining aside, I'm starting to get the hang of it, I think. Today was pretty ok.

Bad Parenting
annoys me. I have a table of regulars with this kid. The youngest he could possibly be is 8 and that's an over-sized, over-developed (physically) 8. My guess would be that he's 10-11, although, physically, he could be 12-13. But let's, just to give him the benefit of the doubt, say he's 8. I've served his family three times now. He has eaten only pork (I mean only) on all three occasions. One time, he got paid to finish his "meal". He's rude and needs to be the centre of attention - but he's 8, so I guess we can make allowances - except, I've seen him punch his grandmother in the back twice (as in on two occasions, two punches per time), once because he ignored being asked for his order and she pointed out that this was rude and once, I think, just for fun - although he asked for money after this, so maybe for money? And his mother sat there and said nothing, pretended not to see. His grandfather sat there and said nothing. His older brother shot me an apologetic look, as if to say, Yeah, I know, but what can you do. I can't even imagine what would have happened if I had behaved this way - and I won't say at his age. I mean, at all. Ever. Well, yes I can. If I had been two and hit my grandmother, I would be sent to my room. If no room was available, to the car (for years, I didn't realize that my parents actually were stood near by, watching said car) and I would have stayed there until I was ready to apologise. Violence begets violence, I guess, because now I really want to punch this kid in his face.

Someone
is having a BBQ. I so want it.

Friday, August 5, 2011

NaNoWriMo 2011

So I've started working on the outline and character sketches for NaNoWriMo 2011. It is going to be one incredibly effed up story, but hopefully a little amazing as well.

I've also been trying to update devereaux court a lot this month because I think it needs to be updated at least three times a week if we ever want it to get serious readership.

I think that's about it. There's work stuff in there, somewhere, but it's a nice day and I want to go to the beach and not think about jobs and boring crap like that.

The end, for now.

Monday, August 1, 2011

So I had an interview this morning and I have work tonight. I was hoping my interview would end before mi novio had to be at work, but it didn't; we missed each other by minutes. When I got home, there was a note on my computer, asking me to run an errand. At first, I was all whiney (internally whiney), thinking It's hot, I don't wanna go back out. Why do I have to-- and then I noticed the little smiley face on the bottom of the note and a much more sensible internal voice pointed out that I'm pretty much the luckiest person alive and I should go out in the sunshine and enjoy my damn errand - which is exactly what I did.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Athena the Waitress

The list just keeps getting longer. I've been a: commissioned painter, flier deliverer, administrative assistant, gas station attendant, Athena (this was my official job title and the people who came after me were called Athenas as well), security guard, security dispatcher, portrait photographer(x2), customer service agent at a gym, graphic designer, room attendant, telemarketer(x2), front desk agent at a hotel, charity fundraiser, order taker at a pizza place and now, a waitress. These are pretty much in the order that I did them, starting from about age 5 or 6 and carrying on through the past 20+/- years - and there's a very high chance that I've left some out.

Waitressing isn't bad. It was much better today (day 2) than yesterday. I had my own tables today (only 2) with really nice guests. Everything went swimmingly. Plus, I now know what a fish fork looks like, which is something I never thought I would have any reason to know. I guess you learn something new every day.

My feet hurt and I'm going to sleep. I don't have to wake up at 6:30 tomorrow morning, which makes me a happy camper, believe you me.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

My Adventure with Cancer

As I write this, I have sitting in my draft posts an open letter to some puritanical nutcase regarding his take on the sexual revolution. The reason it is in draft stage is that, almost 500 words in (not counting footnotes) I still have a lot to say on the subject.

So why is it when today, upon learning that my uncle's cancer has returned, I was rendered completely speechless?

I found out via facebook, of all things. He created a page called My Adventure with Cancer to update his friends and family on his journey while he fights this disease for the second time. Even after the initial shock, when I'd managed to stop crying and calm myself down a bit, I couldn't bring myself to like the page. Of course I want to be kept up to date. Of course I want to be able to send messages of support. But - and this is going to sound stupid - I kept thinking my FB profile page is going to read Athena McCormick likes My Adventure with Cancer.

I told myself this was stupid. Everyone will understand that Facebook uses very limited language to talk about everything, no one is actually going to think that I like the fact that my uncle has cancer. So I decided to click the dreaded like button, to ensure that I'll get emails or updates will end up in my newsfeed or however the Hell Facebook does things these days. But when I went to do it, I still couldn't. I saw all the messages of support coming in from my uncle's friends, offering prayers and well-wishes and I couldn't think of anything to say. At least, nothing that seemed right. I'm not religious. I pray. I prayed every single day from the time I found out he had cancer the first time, until after the surgery he had to remove it. I had a little chant, so as not to leave anything out. That his surgery would work, that they would get all the cancer, that he would be ok. But offering my prayers to the universe-in-general to a Christian man who knows I don't share his faith seems wrong somehow, like taking a coal-powered train to an environmental protest. I thought, I should tell him I love him - and then I thought, how incredibly awkward would that be? My family love each other, of course we do, but we don't go around saying it all the time, and I kept thinking that if I tell him I love him suddenly, after hearing this news, it's going to look like I think he's going to die.

I've lost three family members to cancer, a much-loved aunt and both of my grandfathers. I imagine a world where every disease is cured, every war ended, any injury can be mended and we all die of cancer. What a horrible imagination I have.

Eventually, I came up with what I wanted to say and I said it - part of it. I put it out into the world and now I just have to hope that it was enough, that it was the right thing to say, that the occasion didn't require something more or less or different.

You would think, in a world like ours, so besieged by terrible diseases, there would be a protocol for this, an etiquette. That somewhere, a prim British lady with white gloves and an ugly hat should be telling young girls what to say when a family member is diagnosed - while the girls balance books on their heads and walk in circles around a reception room. You would think.

There's some comfort, perhaps, in the idea that we're all muddling through this, that no one knows how they're supposed to behave in these situations. And it's nice to know that I come from a family of fighters, of people who don't give up, of people who are determined to beat the odds.

It makes me proud. It really does.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

IRN BRU - Feel Phenomenal

Mmmm Irn Bru.
Ok, Irn Bru has absolutely nothing to do with this post, except that mi novio found my bottle from a couple of days ago in his bag this morning, so I have something tasty to drink while I blog.

Yesterday was pretty much a nothing day; I spent the entire day indoors, applying for jobs and not watching a movie. The day before, however...

I woke up at 8:00am, all set to get dressed and get a bus to my new job for 11:30. Except, as I mentioned in the previous post, my new job made me want to kill myself. So I really didn't want to go. Really, as in, the idea of going made me want to burst into tears and/or hyperventilate. I thought because I'd done telesales before, it would be somehow easier this time. Not so. Actually, it's a lot worse when you know that there is no possible chance of your job improving, ever. So after much deliberation and declarations that I would spend every possible moment looking for a new job, if only I could quit this one, I called the recruitment agent who found it for me and told him thanks, but no thanks. I know there will be a lot of people thinking I'm insane because unemployment is so high and yes, there is a chance that things will get so desperate that I have to go crawling back to the recruitment agency and beg for call centre work, but for right now, relieved doesn't even begin to cover how I feel.

On the subject of British nationals who complain that immigrants are stealing all their jobs: I don't blame you at all for not wanting to work in a call centre, but if you really are willing to do anything, there are a lot jobs available. Also, please stop bitching about immigrants getting paid British pensions as if all the money comes from your taxes. If we immigrants are expected to pay into the pension fund, we have every right to take out of it when we retire. Alternatively, if you don't want us collecting pensions, start petitioning your government to have us pay fewer deductions on our wages.

So, after quitting my job (and setting a new record for least time in employment - not counting the 'voluntary assessment' period at a company that was very vague about themselves right up until they tricked me onto a bus and tried to get me to do door-to-door canvasing), I went with my guy to a shop that was having a kick ass sale on outdoor clothing, so he could buy a really good rain jacket for much less than it was worth. He insisted on getting me a jacket too, despite my protests. It's a really nice jacket ♥

After that, we walked around (in our spiffy new jackets) and handed out CVs to a million different hotels and three or four recruitment agencies.

At one of the hotels, we walked in and I saw a bird stuck in the window and trying desperately to escape. So instead of asking if they had work available right away, I ended up catching this tiny bird and setting him free outside. He was so sweet and soft and scared and I really don't care if I killed any chances of them hiring me by rescuing him (personally, if it were my hotel, I'd hire someone because they'd saved a bird from my lobby).

After CVing, the weather had gotten quite warm, probably because we'd just bought rain jackets. I was extremely excited about this because I'd been dying to go swimming since January, when Spoy and I did the polar bear dip in Jasper. So we went home and I changed into my bathing suit, then we went to the beach. The water was ass cold, but swimming was super fun (although short-lived).

After I got changed back into clothes (+jacket), we walked along the beach, then through the park, went to the grocery store and bought salmon and wine and potatoes, came home and had an amazing dinner.

Now it's bucketing down rain, so I think the job search will be conducted mostly indoors today. In either case, it's definitely shower time soon.

Monday, July 18, 2011

And I'm Back


We finally got our Internet sorted a couple of days ago. Prior to that, we'd been using the computers at the library since moving into the new place, which is why this blog hasn't been updated in a million. So a couple of things...

Number one, the above picture is of a design which I created for a T shirt, mostly for my sisters, but really, for anyone who knows and loves Supernatural (and irony). I'm thinking I'd really like to do an A Team one with the original A Team. I'm a little strapped for time* at the moment, so we'll see how it goes.

*Number two, I got a job, which is why I'm strapped for time. I'm working for a recruitment company and at the moment, they've got me working at a call centre. Today was my first day and I just about left to go buy a melon baller, so that I could remove my eyes and subsequently scoop out my brain. I don't understand how something so mind numbingly dull can be so stressful at the same time. I really don't want to go back tomorrow. Really a lot.

Number three, AthenaMcCormick.com is up and running again. So hooray there.

Now it's time for the new Torchwood, so no plug at the end of this post.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Fish in the Water

We left Brighton on Saturday night and today we move into our new place. We've been staying with friends in the meanwhile, having a gay old time.

On Sunday, we went to Salisbury Cathedral, Stonehenge and Bath. It was wonderful. I was most excited to see Stonehenge, but at the end of the day, I think the cathedral was the most amazing. We couldn't take pictures of the inside, but as we walked in and I heard the choir singing, I found myself fighting back tears. For people who haven't left North America, it's hard to comprehend the majesty of somewhere like this; we don't have any buildings as old or as grand to compare it to. If you're ever in England, go to Salisbury and see the Cathedral. I can't wait to go back on a day when it isn't in use and see the tower.

Today, being the day we move into the new place, I need to find a new job. Sometimes it seems like all I do is look for new jobs and new places to live... and then I remember all of the new experiences I've had since coming to the U.K. in February, and it seems like I complain a lot more than I ought. Anyway, I did relatively little with the place hunting this time around, so the energy I saved there can go into finding a job.

On that note, I should cut this short and get to it. I'll just mention that a) my end-of-post plug took up way too much space last time and needs to be shorter and b) AthenaMcCormick.com is currently down, but I'm working to get it fixed ASAP.

Aigaion Girl ... a story of the end of days is available on Amazon.com. Get your copy now!

Friday, July 1, 2011

More Dinosaurs

video
So, to add to the life finds a way design I posted a couple of days ago, I thought I would share this video of a T rex in the mall (sadly, I won't likely be back to this mall for a long time). Wish my BF could have come with me and we could have taken cheesy pictures in front of it, but, alas, he had to work :( Anyway, this is as close to Canada Day fireworks as I'll get on this blog, so please enjoy.

I have so much packing to do today. I should get a jump on it, but I think I need to go back to sleep for an hour or two if I'm going to be anything other than completely useless by this evening.

And, in addition to packing, it's time to start the great job/accommodation hunt yet again. One day, we might live in the same place for several months on end. One day.

I think that's it for me, other than to add that I plan to start shamelessly plugging my stuff (my book, T shirt designs, etc.) at the bottom of every post. You've been warned.


All Apple has ever wanted is to be left alone - but having twelve inch horns sticking out of her head hasn't exactly made that easy. And to make matters worse, she's started to notice the signs; the world is going to end... Now she and her best frienemy, the angel Camael, are torn between doing the right thing and hiding under a rock until it's all over. Meanwhile, Apple is being bedeviled on all sides, by her angel friend, her human mother, her demon father and Moloch, a general of Hell's army, who wants to recruit her for his own unknown reasons.

Aigaion Girl ... a story of the end of days is on sale now. You can get your copy from amazon.com, or click the flag of your country on my writing page.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Lomography

This post has nothing whatsoever to do with lomography. Thought I'd clear that up now.

I should be sending out CVs or looking for a place but today I'm choosing activities that won't get bollocks'd up if I have to stop suddenly to vomit, as that seems to be the one thing my body is interested in today.

So I figure blogging is safest; I can always come back and fix spelling errors, or pick up where I left off if I need to reach for yet another Sainsbury's bag. I'm sure you wanted to know all of this. On to other things.

I watched Enemy at the Gates yesterday. It's not really good, but I realized something which had hitherto escaped my notice: my guy looks a lot like Jude Law. Very similar eyes, nose, lips and jaw-line. If Jude Law were a touch more masculine (not that I have anything against the pretty boy thing, but I do enjoy my manly man), they could be brothers. Or cousins. Anyway, it was kind a surprising observation to make and I kept looking back and forth to see if the similarities were really there or if I was just imagining them.

I have so much house work to do today and I haven't done any of it. The guys we live with haven't done their washing up in ages, so the sink is disgusting, but I really did plan to tackle it and then take care of the dishes of ours that have been accumulating beside it. Also, I planned to do some packing, some laundry, some anything. I hate being sick and I hate not knowing what's causing it. Mlah, I may actually have to go see a doctor - and also, as much as I hate being sick at work, I almost think it's worse to be sick on your day off - like the sickness steals the day from you or something.

This is quickly becoming a long, rambling, woe-is-me blog post of nothingness, so I think I'll cut it short there. Hopefully I'll have something a little more cheerful to share next time :)

Sunday, June 26, 2011

New in the World of Me

Actually, not too much is new in the world of me, at the moment. Still working at the pizza place, still in the tiny room in the house in the middle of nowhere, still happy and content to a fault.

It's really sunny and beautiful out and really, I should be outside enjoying it - or at the very least, I should be putting the laundry in the washing machine now so that it can be be dry by tomorrow.

We went to Bournemouth the day before yesterday and had a grand time there. Other than being slightly less touristy, it doesn't really seem to be different from Brighton in any significant way. But it was a good day, spent with friends, and full of moments of quiet squee.

In other news, I designed another new T shirt (see the Jeff Goldblum dinosaur to the right). Have to say, I'm pretty pleased with it (Hehe, pretty pleased).

There was one other thing I was going to mention, but now I can't remember what it was. I hate when that happens, but it happens so frequently now that I'm pretty much used to it. Need more B12, I guess.

Additional: I remembered what it was. I was going to say that I'm quite pleased that Blogger finally introduced separate pages - but thinking about it, finally might be stretching it a bit; a few years ago, I looked into it and there was no way to have more than one page, and it never occured to me to check to see if that had changed until I visited this blog either last week or the week before and found that the author had set up multiple pages.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

I Forget

I had so many things to blog about in my mind all day today, but when I actually get the chance to sit down and write something, do you think I can remember any of them? Ah well. I'm leaving Brighton for the first time in 4 months tomorrow; hopefully when I get back, I'll be full of stories.

I Forgot What I was Goin

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

I saw six bunnies and three foxes last night in the park across the road - all in the space of about five minutes. I didn't get any pics, but it was still pretty cool.

Also, I had kind of a crap night at work last night, on account of messing up my first order in over a month of working there, having a pissed off customer as a result, and having a bunch of guys who work there climb down my throat as a result of that. You know what? I had hit my head, I was dizzy and nauseated and I still came to work. I made two mistakes that anyone could have made, but unfortunately, they were on the same order. I apologized for those mistakes - but I don't know. People kept telling me about them, telling me how important it was that I didn't make mistakes like that, telling me how angry the customer was - as if, maybe if I was contrite enough, I'd be able to go back in time and fix everything. Ugh. It doesn't help that I was the only girl working at this point. One girl in a crowd of men will inevitably be treated differently, whether it means being put on a pedistal, treated like a child, or handed a broom - and for the most part, the guys at work tend to opt for the latter. My bosses are the exception to this; they treat all their employees pretty much the same.

There was another girl on in the early evening. A conversation we had, regarding true events.

Her: Are you tired?
Me: No, I just hit my head last night.
Her: Me too, actually. I hit right on the back of my head.
Me: Me too.
Her: My boyfriend was tickling me.
Me:... You're kidding. Me too.
Her: Really? Anyway, I hit my head off the--
Me: Headboard?
Her: Yeah...
Me: Me too.

So strange, that we would have exactly the same story on the same day, when we work in the same place. I have the life of a seventeen year old.

Well, it's before 8am, so this little piggy is going back to bed. My day off today got turned into a day on, which would be smelly, if I didn't need the hours, and is still kind of smelly because my boyfriend works until the exact time that I need to leave for work, so we won't see each other until late (I didn't make it home until nearly 2 last night).

Le Yawn! Ooh, but I bet there's another Eastenders for me to watch.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Another Big Update

As you can see, I've redone the blog again - or, I should say, I'm in the process of redoing it now. I need a new background, and to add some new pages (and fix the T shirts page) but I'm almost done, for now. I'll probably redo it again in a couple of months, when I have the energy to go in and fiddle with the code.

What else? We moved out of our house and into another at the beginning of May. This place is really small and a million miles away from everything; thankfully, we'll be moving on soon. I'm so tired of moving, but there isn't much for it.

I'm working (finally!) at a pizza place, which is a little embarrassing but ultimately not as bad as it sounds. There are parts of my job that drive me insane, but it's pretty much just a job. Most of the guys there (there are, counting the one that started this week, 5 girls that work there, and over 20 guys) are nice enough. Some are ridiculous and seem to think that because I'm new/female, I'm a) a complete idiot and b) should not be doing anything but bitch work. Luckily, they're in the minority. I really like my bosses, but I wish they would explain to me who is a supervisor and who isn't, so I know who I can tell to stuff it when they wordlessly shove a broom in my face.

In the land of men, I'm perfectly happy with the one I've got... which means that Murphy's Law comes into affect and despite not having gone on a single date during my adulthood pre-M., and despite only being asked out twice between the ages of 16 and 23, I have now, it seems, become a hot commodity. Well. This is a huge exaggeration. But after many years of guys showing next-to-no interest in me, it's really weird. Guys flirt with me on the phone and in person, ask me out, tell me how wonderful I am, despite not really knowing me... call me at really inappropriate times of night, despite knowing that I have a boyfriend... act really awkward around me the next day, as if my annoyance was unjustified... Anyway, even the harmless niceness makes me a bit uncomfortable. And it does, I have to admit, make me wonder where the hell all these guys were from, say ages 12-15 and 16-23. Not that I wish they'd been around; I'm annoyed for my past self, but for my current self, I'm glad they didn't show up.

After what seems like an eternity of being completely drained creatively, I've finally *touch wood* started writing again. It's in dribs and drabs, not the full on, type-like-a-banshee insanity of days of yore, but at least it's something. Once I get my momentum up, I have to decide which project to finish first and just bloody finish it. But for right now, I'm just happy there's something there.

I think that's all of my updatiness for now. I have a million things to do right now, but I'm too cold and tired and hungry to want to do anything other than climb under the covers and nap away the afternoon. Possibly tea could help with this. God, I miss tea.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

A Big Update Post

Wow. Need to blog more.

So, I found a place. It's a great place, a huge house in Hove and I think there are eleven of us living here (there may be more; it's all a bit of a mystery). Our bedroom is massive and has bay windows, so until the beginning of May, I'll be pretending I have a lot more money than I do. We have to find a new place to live for May.

I also found a job - and got fired from it. I signed up with a recruitment agency and within a few hours of applying for this job, I had a call back and by the next day, an interview had been set up. The job, as the recruitment agent described it to me, was to call supporters of charities, thank them for their support and ask if they would be comfortable switching the payments they're already making to direct debit. So I went to the interview It lasted two and a half hours and during it I found out that what the job *actually* was was calling people to ask for money, but only at a level they felt comfortable giving and it was definitely not pushy or salesy. I found out a couple days later that I had the job.

The first two days of work were training. Day one, myself and the 7 other people who got hired with me talked with a couple of the supervisors about what charities are, what our role was, etc. I really hate call centres, but the environment seemed really warm and friendly and I liked the way they did things. Over and over again, one of our 'coaches' kept telling us, when we ask for money, it's ok if the supporter says no. They don't have to justify it to us. They don't have to give reasons. If they say no, we simply thank them for their support and move on*. We weren't there to push people or guilt people.

Day two, we spent the morning learning the computer system and the afternoon looking at scripts. The scripts, at first glance, consisted of Thank you for your help, the world is an awful place, we can do something to fix it, more money? - the particular one I spent my brief time at the company calling on started by asking people to triple the amount of money they were already paying monthly. When they say no (which 99% do, because it's RIDICULOUS to call people who are giving you money and ask them to send you three times more), the script goes to the 'second ask' which is basically: I understand you can't afford that much, the world is a horrible place, we can fix it, please can I have twice as much money as you're currently paying? There are other options, of course, like, 'I understand you're on a pension and supporting eight other charities, babies are dying in the streets, please can we have more money? - But even reading through these insane scripts, we were told, over and over, that if they flat out say they can`t afford it, or if they tell you at the beginning that no, they will not increase their payments, that`s fine. Leave it alone. Don`t upset them. Etc, etc.

The other thing they told us on Day 2, was that we should be nice to each other. We should not brag about the number of pledges we`re getting or be all pitying and sympathetic to those getting less than us. If we had a bad day, we should not sigh and moan, because we`re a team and we don`t want to bring each other down.


Day 3, we actually started calling. Pretty much the first thing they did was march out a big board where they wrote down how many pledges we were each getting. It of course included the people who had been there six weeks longer than us, so the newbies looked a little sad and inept on that board, but we trudged on.

Each day, the approach changed slightly. Suddenly, it was no longer, If they say no, that`s fine. Suddenly, just saying No meant they were waffling a bit and could be persuaded to up their donations. Suddenly, the justifications and reasons for not being able to increase (which people, particularly older people, feel obliged to give when you tell them the world is coming to an end and children and puppies are dying and it`s all going to be their fault if they don`t help) are excuses - and the same nice, friendly people who told us not to push, not to be salesy, that supporters don`t have to justify themselves to us are saying that most people could afford a few extra quid a month, if they really wanted to... and isn`t it annoying how supporters lie about why they aren`t giving more?

So, to be honest, I fully intended to find something else, then quit. But, in the meantime, I decided to do my job to the best of my ability, as much as I hated it, because I was being paid to. So I negotiated as much as I could (morally could, I mean. There is a limit to how far I`m willing to go for money and making people who spend their state pension on charities feel bad for the help they`re offering the world surpasses that limit), listened to the coaches`conflicting advice on how to get more pledges (Be more upbeat, be more urgent, be more indignant, be friendlier, speak lower, speak louder, slow it down, speak faster, be more familiar, be more professional, put more passion into it, be more confident), tried to follow what I could when it didn`t directly conflict with something someone higher up had told me. I was a good little worker bee and put up with them coming and pulling the same demoralizing bullshit they had warned us against, smiled when they hovered behind me while I was on the phone and smiled when then asked me what went wrong if I didn`t get a pledge. I even, on my last night of work, kept my composure when one of the coaches came and told me everything I was doing wrong on a call where I got a pledge, then came back to gloat about how her advice had helped me get another pledge (even though I hadn`t followed it because it went against the only advice I`d been given which had actually helped) - I smiled through all of it... and for my troubles, I was fired.

They weren`t even going to tell me. The lazy bastards were going to wait until I had walked into town for my next shift (yesterday morning) to let me know I`d been sacked. The only reason I found out is that they did tell my recruitment agent, and she decided it might be nice to call me and let me know, so I wouldn`t waste my time slogging into work.

So now I need to start looking for something new. Le Blah. I was going to anyway, but this puts a little more pressure on, money-wise. Boo to the urns.

So, the job hunt and house hunt resume. Also, I have a million to write.

Also, I remain happy and smiling. Nothing seems to be able to keep me down for long - *knock on wood*


*The company I was working for works on behalf of a number of very well known charities, though I can't tell you their names or the company's name; confidentiality agreement.

Friday, March 11, 2011

House Hunting

From what I can gather, British TV falls into 4 categories: Antiques, Cooking, Property and Col. Gaddafi*.

The shows about property always amaze me. You get this middle class British family saying, "Well, we don't really want to go over 800,000 pounds." WhereTF did you get 800,000 pounds? WHERE? Minimum wage here is less than in Canada, and it seems like every one is getting laid off or having their jobs cut. I want 800 K. It would make my life so much easier.

At the moment (well, not right at the moment, since right at the moment, I'm writing this blog) I'm looking for a place. Finding cheap accommodation in a place like Brighton definitely isn't easy, but it's not as hard as, say, finding cheap accommodation with its own w.c. British people share these, it seems. Also, they often share shower rooms. It's a strange ol' world.

Brighton remains lovely and life remains wonderful, despite my still not being able to work and my being rather sick (I've been sick for days. I don't like it). It seems like I'm always fuzzy headed, either from the drugs or the lack thereof, but everything will be worked out soon, I know it (*knock on wood*)

Ok, cutting this short. I'm going to get myself into trouble if I spend the day in bed and blogging, so it's back to the house hunt for me.



*Also East Enders.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

England is everything I could have hoped for, Brighton especially. I love the old buildings, the melancholy feeling in the air when it is cloudy, the remnants of camping and beaches and old fairs when there is sun.

I love the fashion here. Everyone is fashion conscious, which isn't to say they're well-dressed, but you can tell that time and consideration went into the choosing of every outfit, even the ugly ones. Still, there's a laid back feeling to it; these people dress the way they do not because it is popular, but because the genuinely want to look good.

I was a lot more impressed with central London than I was expecting to be. Maybe because we were there later in the evening or because of the time of year, but I didn't see any of the dirty, overcrowded mess that I had anticipated. It's lovely, incomparable to anything we have in Canada. Not somewhere I would live, given my dislike of people, but still somewhere I can see myself spending a lot of time quite happily.

I could write endlessly, I really could, but right now there's just way too much to see and do, so I'm cutting this short for the moment. More to follow, I'm sure.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Surreality

So I'm sitting at work for the last time, listening to classical music and thinking. I've got two hours left. Hard to believe after nearly 6 months working here.

Something has occurred to me over the past couple of days. I have had 10+ish jobs over the past 10 years and this is the only one that I've actually been sorry about leaving. Of course, I love that I'm going, and I LOVE why I'm going, but it's still going to be hard to say goodbye to this place and the people that make it what it is.

In some ways it feels like I've been here much longer than six months and in some ways it feels like I just got here. I can still clearly remember the 3 day bus ride, my first night in town, spent in room 120, my first nights in Cave Hell, all of it, really, from the summer. I remember being taken on a tour of the town, and, of course, meeting this intelligent, gorgeous man and agonizing over how I would ever get up the courage to ask him out :) It's forever ago and five minutes. Time is definitely malfunctioning here.

I have so much to do today. Most of it is laundry, some of it is packing and a fair bit will be deciding what stuff to donate to charity and what to do with things like that bigass painting that I did in (I'm going to say September, but I'm not sure). Somewhere in there, I need to have a nap, go to the gym, take down the Xmas tree, hopefully go to the bank, head to the post office. Then wings tonight and sushi tomorrow... and then it's off to Edmonton, early, early Friday morning.

It's a whirlwind. Even this shift, which consisted of one phone call, which I transferred, zoomed right by. I remember once, when I was little, we went camping and when I got into bed, I closed my eyes and counted to three. I don't know why I counted to three, but when I opened my eyes, it was morning. The whole night went by in 1... 2... 3. This feels kind of like that. In three seconds, I could be stepping into the arrivals area of the airport. Unbelievable, but deeply wonderful.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Valentine's Day


















I figured I should write my Valentine's day post now, while I'm thinking about it, since I'm going to be way to busy, come the actual day.
I didn't used to be the biggest fan of Valentine's day. It's always struck me as kind of a weird holiday, way too commercial and based way too much of people's insecurities and fear of being alone.

BUT, since this Valentine's day will be nothing short of magical (I'll be landing in the U.K., after over 100 days of waiting* :), I'm a lot more pro V-day than I have been in the past. I am, of course, really looking forward to it this year. Of course, I would be anyway, even if to everyone else in the world, it was just another Monday.
AND (since we're starting whole paragraphs with conjunctions), on top of the impending wonderfulness of February 14th, I found the above Valentines here. I'm having to work very hard indeed not to buy them. Very hard.
Also, The Scientist is on the radio. ♥ overload.
*!!!!! :D ♥ !!!!!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Le Zzz

I AM SO EFFING TIRED.

This whole not sleeping thing is starting to eat my brain. It's not that I'm not sleeping (well, I don't think I slept today), it's just that I'm not sleeping as much as I should be. But today I was dead tried, lying in bed with the light off and I still couldn't get to sleep. So I have no idea.

Crap. I had other stuff but I can't remember. I'm seriously nearly falling asleep at the desk*. Soon, my pizza will get here** Maybe that will wake me up. That makes no sense. You know what? I'm gonna call it a night, blog-wise. I'll post something sensible when I'm awake again.

*I work at a desk. I'm at work right now.
**Poor life choice.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Flesh for Fantasy = Never Changing the Radio Station

At work and nothing much to report. It is Rtardedly hot in here, and I am absolutely melting. Either there is something very wrong with my ability to regulate my body temperature or something wrong with all (3) of the buildings that I spend time in. I'm always either freezing cold or sweating buckets. Blah.

I love that my only complaints in life at the moment are tied to body temperature. Everything else is going wonderfully right now (*KNOCK ON WOOD!!!!!*) I leave Canada in a few short weeks and I think this is easily the most excited I've ever been about anything, ever.

I'm starting to stress a little, but it's all self-inflicted stress, brought on my guilt when I'm procrastinating and know I shouldn't be and it's easily overcome.

I'm going to miss this place; I have a great job, I've made some great friends and I live in a beautiful national park - but I'm really looking forward to seeing everyone back home that I haven't seen in 5.5+ months and I'm really looking forward to the part that comes after that, the end of the 108 day wait, when I'll fall into a state of ridiculous happiness which will somehow contrive to surpass what I'm feeling now.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

:(

I'm using that face, 'cause there isn't a universally recognized I just vomited in my own mouth emoticon, and profound sadness at the situation is the runner up emotion. Soon after I got to work, this guy called, sounding fairly distraught and mumbling, then said something like, "Just let me put this down", set the phone down and proceeded to jerk off audibly. Yeah, perfect way to start my night. I'm terrified to answer the phone now. Apparently, he used to do this fairly frequently (I'm assuming it's the same guy), but stopped sometime before I started working here 5 months ago* and picked tonight to start up again. I tried to star 69 him, but it didn't work. Ugh. I so do not need this shit. I mean, honestly, why can't he just watch porn like everyone else?

Between that and learning about Bridalplasty, which is just a horribly depressing statement on the condition of the world, this hasn't been the greatest night ever. Dumb crap like this should not be getting to me, but for whatever reason, it is tonight.

I didn't make it to the gym tonight, and I really need to. I realized today that I haven't been since before Christmas. Not good.

On a much happier note, it's officially Jan 11. The past couple weeks have zoomed by... I can already feel the (comparatively) warm English rain on my face, smell airport smells and see London. I am so there.

*Hey, 5 months ago today - well, yesterday, but today for me... or something.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

2011 Plans & Resolutions

I seem to switch back and forth between two opinions on New Years resolutions. Some years, I make tonnes (for 2009, I made 53 - I think I kept 2) and some years, I think it's stupid to need an excuse to do something that you should be doing anyway - IE: why would you wait until January to start going to the gym or quit smoking or start pottery lessons, or whatever it is that you're planning to do?

This year, well, I only really had one resolution, and I took care of it before 2011 started; I've already bought my plane ticket :) The past few months, I've filled this blog with allusions and (very) thinly veiled hints, so I thought today, as the first day of 2011 (I know, it's technically the second. I work graveyard. Sue me.), I would clarify a few things.

The countdown on the side of my blog is to Valentine's day, which just so happens, is the day I land(♥!). I'm going to the UK, where I plan to be blissfully (possibly even ridiculously) happy. I don't have a job yet, or a place to live, or a concrete plan for either of those things, and I'm not worried. I'll find a job, day to day life will be difficult for a while, pinching pennies will be an understatement of the necessary budgeting, I'll be poor. Poor and happy.

This reminds me of being a little kid on one of our roadtripesque* family vacations, bouncing up and down in the back seat, praying to some nameless higher power that soon, we'd just bloody get there. Although, when I was a kid, I was excited but also sullen and angry and impatient and now I'm pretty much just excited and impatient.

So, now to the planning. I have a million to do, and not too much time to do it in (see the counter). Time for more lists. :)

*On normal road trips, my understanding is that you stop and sleep occasionally, instead of driving for 18-26 hours nonstop.