Friday, May 25, 2007

Heading North

Friday.
Lunch break at work.
It's hot. (by English standards)
Charlotte and I are heading up to Northampton for the weekend to visit her Aunty and Uncle.
I'm looking forward to getting out of London for a while and seeing some of the English countryside. Will be taking plenty of photos and the like.
Apparently there's quite a bit of history around the area- battlegrounds from the War of the Roses, medieval underground tunnel systems, ruins from the iron age and other such things that could be made into a crap book by Dan Brown. I won't be making a book, but maybe will look at things and nod appreciateively.
Must be getting back to work.
Also, bank holiday Monday- Long Weekend!

Friday, May 18, 2007

And a good morning to you sir!

I awoke this morning, usual time... Begrudgingly slid out of bed and shuffled into the bathroom.
I was enjoying the invigorating properties of hot running water when there was a knock on the bathroom door. I'd been in the shower for 5 mins at the max.
I yelled out with the old 'Yeaap, what?'
No answer. I shrugged and thought one of my flatmates was being a bit rude, but it didn't bother me.
Knock knock.
'Yes, what??' (Slightly more aggravated this time)
Still nothing. I was annoyed by the lack of consideration displayed by my flatmates. Whilst pondering the possible need for immediate access to the bathroom ('upset stomach', plaque eradication, morning number ones) there was another knock.
That was the final straw. I jumped out, threw my towel around me and opened the door.
Boy, was I going to give some evil words and/or looks to the impatient person on the other side.
Instead of an impatient flatmate, I was greeted by around 10 people clad in police uniform, bulletproof vests, walkie talkies and utility belts.
Um... hello.
I thought of all the reasons that my house could be filled by such people. Do I live in a crack den? No. Have I been storing weapons grade plutonium? Don't think so. Maybe it's because we've been neglecting our basil plant and they've come to take it into foster care. Possibly.

A man whose badge identified him as belonging to UK Immigration very sternly and quickly questioned me: 'What room are you in? What's your name? Where are you from?
Meanwhile, I'm dripping wet looking around at the SWAT team that has suddenly materialised in our hallway and trying not to laugh.
'I'm in the front room. My name's Jeremy. I'm from Australia.'
He then peered into the bathroom, probably to see if I was harbouring any illegal immigrants. Once he realised our bathroom is essentially a shoebox filled with porcelain and tiles and that I wasn't trying to help Pablo out a window, he relaxed a bit.
In a perfect twist of fate, to back up my story I was wearing my Australian flag bath towel. (A little too convenient, I bet they thought.) Luckily I'd decided not to wear my 'Unauthorised Border Crossing Convention 07' commemorative towel.
Anyways, I got hustled into our room... They ran around through our house for a while, checked my passport and best of all, I thought, jovially said 'Well you check out, we'll have to arrest someone else.' Awesome.

They then left as quick as they came, leaving us a receipt of their search warrant and an overwhelming feeling of complete bewilderment. And possibly some hidden surveillance devices. Paranoia!!!

This has made my year. I couldn't think of a better way to start my Friday.

Footnote: In case UK Immigration is tapping our wireless, I don't know anyone called Pablo, i'm just using racial stereotypes, no one by that name lives here. Ok, thanks.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Proper Work

Finally I've progressed from retro work to normal work.
Have spent Friday and today at a IT Recruitment agency answering phones, which has been a piece of cake- nice, easy work.
Start my three month Programmes Coordinator contract tomorrow with the DBA which is a really cool little company that hooks designers up with businesses and gives them a heap of resources and assistance with the business side of design projects.
Really looking forward to it as the place, people and position seem really cool.
More on that to come once I get into it...

In other news, things that have gone on over the last week or so:
- Saw Spiderman 3 on the weekend
- Had dinner at Wagamamas and Gourmet Burger Kitchen
- Charlotte and I made home-made pasties, apple crumble, roast vegetables, haloumi and salami on ciabatta, lasagne and other extremely awesome things i can't remember.
- I got ambushed by some missionaries who knocked on my door. They asked me what i thought about the growing social divide between rich and poor. I was perplexed as to why some strangers would want my opinions on such matters. I thought maybe they could just sense my wisdom as they walked past the house, but that seemed unlikely. Our walls are pretty thick.
I told them what I thought anyways and they asked me how the problem could be fixed, so I went into a bit of a rant about governments forming a united front and acting compassionately and ethically and blah blah blah. The woman looked at me and nodded vacantly. Then she pulled out a bible and asked if she could red some appropriate passages to me. I then told her of my love of S&M, my penchant for not resting on Sundays and my constant blashpemy. She smiled and left and i smiled and went back to reading my book on the Dark Arts.
Nah, not really... but it sounds more exciting doesn't it?

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Retro Work

So, I've been at this 'emergency' temp job for a few days now and FAR OUT am I over it.
Only two days to go....
It's an electrical engineering company comprised of 4 older guys. They don't use computers.
Unfortunately, the rest of the world does and so my job is as follows:
When an email arrives, I print one copy of the email and any attachments and put it on the desk of whoever it is addressed to. (They only have one email address for the entire company) I then print another copy and file it in a folder called 'Email In'
I then get handed back a piece of paper with instructions on composing a repsonse to this email. I do up a draft of the email, print it out, show it to whoever I'm writing it on behalf of, they approve it or make changes and then I send the email. Then i print a copy of the sent email and put it in the 'Email Out' folder.
WTF!? This is demeaning and frustrating and totally unnecessary. If you can come up with an entire wiring sysytem for a new hotel, I'm sure you can work out how to use a computer.
Seriously, why bother having a computer at all if you're going to print out every single thing at least three times. I'm printing out enough paper each day here to drive at least two species into extinction through deforestation. I have blood on my hands.
Also, having never used computers, my boss's concept of changing the entire layout of a complex spreadhseet involves asking me to just 're-jig' things. Re-jig. I wonder if anyone ever asks him to 're-jig' his work after it's sealed into the walls of a new hotel.
Luckily I start a three month contract next week in a bigger, better office of the future where they have futuristic things like computers, emails, automobiles and bagels.

Wow, I'm good at whingeing!

On the upside, had a very nice long weekend- went to Camden Markets, bought some new Vans, went to a friend's house, ate lots of nice food, drank lots of cider, watched some good movies and relaxed.
Hooray for weekends.

Now I'm off to print this post off and file it under 'Company Time- Wasted'

I will have a sufficient reliable income within a week too and as such will be able to afford to do way more interesting things, so I can promise that this blog will get more exciting soon. In the meantime, why don't you cry about it.

Friday, May 4, 2007

New(ish) look blog now with more Crazy Guy stories

I decided to pretty this page up a bit. A little bit more colour for the showing. The photo at the top is from out the front of our old house in Vermont. Neat!

Also, I forgot about the crazy guy I encountered on the tube the other day.

Quietly, I was sat down listening to my ipod on the tube, coming back from an interview when this guy gets on the train. He sits down in the row of seats opposite me. The guy looks like and African Prince. Not as in an heir to Nigerian throne, but like an African version of The Artist Fomerly Known As Prince. Weird, I know!
Anyways, I keep to myself and listen away to some Rise Against.
Then, fatal error, i glance up for a second and see that this guy is ranting and raving about some shite and then the unthinkable happens.
Eye contact.
So he points his finger at me and starts shouting some more. I pop out a headphone and give him the 'Sorry, what?' look and he continues on with this:
'I am black and you will not change that!! No one can make me stop talking!
You will not call me a black bastard again! You call me that again, I WILL DEFEAT YOU!!'

Interesting way to break the ice.
I did wonder what he would defeat me at though. Using my exceptional analytical skills, I chose not to challenge him in high-jump or a 200m sprint. Or a karaoke-off as he really did look like Prince.
I probably could have beaten him at frisbee but I wan't certain.
I decided not to call him a black bastard and instead gave him the "I'm totally cool with that, crazy dude!" look and put my headphone back in.
He got off at the next station still shouting declarations of random nonsense.
I watched him crash through people whilst gesturing wildly and felt quite good about my sanity.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Work and What-not

I've been doing some work finally.
Not much mind you, but nonetheless I have spent some days doing the thing where I do tasks in exchange for money. No, not those sort of tasks.
I did a couple of days with a marketing company. I spent one day with them standing on a stall at a careers expo at Greenwich University telling grad students about some book and stuff that we had or whatever. It wasn't all that exciting but they were nice people.
I was then offered work there for 4 more weeks, which i would have accepted however I had some interviews scheduled for early this week, so I had to do those.
One was for a Recruitment Coordinator position. Which seemed interesting however I haven't really recruited people for anything except participation in a few beers at the pub/park, so my experience was sorely lacking. Also I didn't really 'click' with the recruiter that well... He wore make-up and was very fruity and poncey and it seemed as though when he walked around the office souffl─ôs would fall out of his pants and poodles would appear from his pockets. He was one very camp dude.
Then went for an interview as a Sales Administrator, which seemed to go fine, however the feedback I got was that the interviewer thought I maybe gave them them 'right' answers that they wanted to hear... Umm.. No. I just answered the questions. Correctly apparently, but I wouldn't want to employ anyone who answered things correctly. Bah. Also, when i left the next candidate was waiting and I definitely didn't have the anatomical proportions that she had, nor was I showing them off as she was. That's what I put it down to.
Anyways, I then called the other place back about the four weeks of work but they told me that they had re-filled that already (meanwhile I'd knocked back other work becasue of this) and that they didn't have anything else.
So I went from having four weeks of work and two good job prospects to having no prospects and no work. I couldn't have worse luck if I punched a whole village of gypsies.
I got a call this morning from one agency to do some 'emergency work' which, while I formulated the idea of me driving fire-trucks for the day, turned out to be reception work at some tiny place in Clapham. No one calls, the bosses don't use computers so I have to write them notes on a form of pressed wood pulp with some archaic ink filled device and it's very very quiet.

Going for dinner tomorrow night with Charlotte's aunty and uncle which should be good and I found a heap of free exhibitions which seem really cool, so that might be something to do over the weekend. Haven't had a chance to take too many more photos, but I'll be updating my Flickr page with more photos and info and stuff soon.

So here I am, bored but being paid. I think I might be working hard by English standards.