Friday, April 28, 2006


Sad to go

Last day in the office, and everything's suddenly very real. Leaving where I've been volunteering for the past 3 months was inevitable, but due to the speed with which my new job wants me to start, I've only had 4 days from knowing I was going, to saying goodbye. I'm back in next week, but for a rather stressy event, so it won't be the same.
I'm now getting more & more scared by the prospect of the new job, and wondering again whether I can really do it. Surprisingly for me I'm also feeling rather sad. Almost tearful in fact. This is in part due to a leaving gift which was a) completely unexpected and b) rather generous.
Next week, new contract permitting, a new Being is Bewildering feature: NewJobBlog

Microsoft Word is a horrible piece of software and should never be used for graphic design or layout work. Certainly not when said work needs to be done quickly. Grrr!

Thursday, April 27, 2006


Contractual obligations

After a slightly worrying day yesterday when it didn't turn up as expected, I took delivery of my new employment contract this morning, a slightly chunky package that will allow me to sign away my life in exchange for cold hard cash.
Tryign to understand it, and work out any conflicts of interest. If I've understood it correctly, I may be required to give up my theatre job which would be rather a pity, as theatre work is great fun and occasionally very well paid if it's a commercial get-out like this weekend is. Still, if the day job says no, that's it.

Why are contractual terms and conditions so scary though? It always seems like when they're written down they appear to forbid breathing on company premises, and failure to comply will result in dismissal.
Actually it's not that bad, and so far it does seen to make sense, which is a relief.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006


Words of Advice

I don't know many people round where I live and when I've been out in town, I've not seen anyone who wasn't a) trashed or b)with a man already
To try and remedy my situation, I've set up a profile on an online dating site. It's not great, but I don't think it's the worst either.

Here are my words of advice for people posting their pictures on dating sites
Side note, I've just realised I've got 2 keys the wrong way round still after washing my keyboard. I also know the HTML of this post is appalling, but it's late, I'm tired and the batteries have died in my cordless mouse.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006


Silly man

David Blaine, the publicity-shy illusionsist and magician professional show-off, has announced that for his next attempt at boring the entire world to death, he will be spending a week underwater
Silly man - has he no idea how wrinkly he'll become? I know I look about 92 after an hour in the bath, but after a week his resemblance to a prune will be uncanny.

Even though I've just been offered a job, I can't help but notice that these 'stunts' seem to pay Mr Blaine rather well. With that in mind, I'm wondering if I could earn some cash on the side with any of these:

Of course for the true Blaine effect, I need to have all my air/water/food needs supplied by tube, and some kind of colostomy bag arrangement, but I reckon as it stands I'm all set to start approaching some TV production companies. Endemol, got anything lined up after Big Brother this year?


Losing my braaaaiinnssss

I think I must be losing my mental faculties, possibly due to zombie attack, as I have no other explanation.
Went down to the station, thought I was running late, the ticket machine seemed to be showing an unusually high price. Then I was quoted the same price at the window
"But it's normally less!"
"It's peak time sir"
"You sure?"
"It's £11.30 at peak times"
"But it's normally £7.10"
"Not on peak"
[realisation dawns]

I was running an hour early. First time for everything.

Monday, April 24, 2006


Hip Hop Punnage Don't Stop

Hairdressers in Bloomsbury:


Cue visions of people blundering around in the dark with scissors around people's heads, or else applying power tools to the art of the barber:
"Would sir like a Flymo or a hedge trimmer cut?"
"Just sand it down"
"Very good sir"




When I titled this blog, many moons ago, I called it Being is Bewildering because
  1. All the good names were taken
  2. I'm often confused by life
  3. I like that Moloko song
Recently being me got even more bewildering - 2 interviews which I didn't think went particularly well have ended in... a job offer! I start next week. 3-month temp contract initially, but intending to lead to a permanent position (something to do with auditing apparently)

It's all been rather rapid & unexpected, but I now need to work my a$$ off to prove I match up to their expectations. It's gonna be tough, but I'll keep you posted.
Now I just need to finish off my work at my current placement, and try not to get too drunk at my leaving drinks. Then there's the small matter of shoeshining and shirt-ironing in preparation for a royal visit next week, which I'm helping out at as my last task for my current placement. Now, where does a 2-ton trailer and a 10k run fit into all of this? Somewhere in the middle I think.

Sunday, April 23, 2006


Marathon effort

Finally stood down from my post some time after 5, but due to a lot of waiting around for our paramedic to return his drug pack (apparently they're quite strict on that kind of thing), didn't get home until around 19.00, having left my house at 06.45 this morning
Twelve hours is a long time to be on duty even if that is just standing around waiting for something to happen - I'm exhausted!
I was situated at the foot of Big Ben [Yes pedants, I know it's St. Stephen's Tower, and it's the bell that's called Big Ben] so between 25 & 26 miles. By this stage, the runners aren't interested in Vaseline - they've either had enough or they're beyond the help of petroleum jelly.
Two jobs to deal with - one eplileptic fit that a police officer spotted and caught, so no injuries, but the poor guy was rather confused/combative as he came out of it, and went off to the nearest hospital struggling with our ambulance crew. Still, better to be struggling than not moving at all. We think it may have been his first fit. Rather unfortunately it happened directly across from a "cheering point" for the charity he was running for.
Second job was actually in the Tube station, a lady feeling unwell on the platform. As she'd been unwell for a while and was a bit weak on her feet, she got a free lift to A&E for a check-up courtesy of St. John.
Very tired, but need to prepare for my second interview. *nerves!*

Saturday, April 22, 2006


Don't Panic!

When the agency first sent the profile through, I thought there was no way I'd get anywhere with it - lacked a lot of the necessary experience, and the salary range had 'second job' written all over it. Bit of a long shot, but hey, no harm trying?
Then I got an email from the agency - they wanted to interview me! Must have written my CV very well, or they'd misread it. Oh well, good interview practice.
So, the agency calls to confirm details, and I tell them I think it's a long shot. Nonsense they say - they claimed to have put forward 6 CVs, and 2 were then called to interview. OK - bit of a confidence boost, but I still need to explain all the bits of the role I've not done before.
Started off with a test for which I couldn't prepare. This was a list of tasks to perform on Raiser's Edge - the standard db package in charity fundraising offices. Now I've used this, but only certain apps, and not for any fundraising operations. I'll give it my best shot...
Apologised for my lack of skills, was then told I was the best they'd had
Followed this with an interview where I had no experience of half the things I'd be expected to do, and couldn't find examples of my previous work that didn't involve drunk people.
Anyway, they wanted to know if I'd be available on Monday, if they shortlisted me. I said yes...
...Within half an hour I was talking to the agency about when I could go in on Monday - I was fully expecting a call saying that they didn't want to see me again, but instead I'm back there at 11am Monday.

So that was a surprise.
Everything's moving very quickly, and there's suddenly an alarmingly real possibility that I could have a proper job (with money!) within weeks... Don't know if I'm more excited or scared. Can I do it? Do I want to do it? It's not quite the field I thought I wanted to go into, but it's the right sector, and has got PR elements... it's looking tempting, but then again they still might not make an offer. Meanwhile I've got to concentrate on applying myself to applying for other jobs and steeling myself for a day at the marathon as a First Aider/Nipple Lubricator...

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Thursday, April 20, 2006


Surely not his real name?

I find it very hard to believe that this is for real
From the BBC


The Longbridge plant in Birmingham
Almost 6,000 jobs were lost at Longbridge
Maurice Minor, 58, spent 32 years at Longbridge before the company went bust last year. He has found new employment in the motor industry, commuting daily to Honda in Swindon.

Please don't tell me the beeb really expects us to believe there was a worker at the now-closed Rover factory called Maurice Minor?

Wednesday, April 19, 2006


YouTube corner

As most people know by now, YouTube is a great way to see all the funny bits of american sketch shows, sorry sample quality entertainment, and laugh at idiots who have recorded themselves dancing/singing/preparing their Darwin Awards submission, um view the cream of amateur film-making...

Men In Coats:
Genius physical comedy from the UK. They're men. In coats.

The worst cover version ever?
You'll never be able to Listen to Europe in the same way again. Via Music Thing
I dare you to listen to the whole thing! As Music thing say"There are numerous great things about it, like the moment when a roadie wearing hot pink short shorts wanders onto the stage, checks that the sound coming out of the speakers really is that bad, and wanders off."

More Cowbell
Everyone should see this, if only to have an explanation for such web oddities as this and this

Can ya feel the embedded video love? Well, can ya?


Certified, possibly insane

After 2 days in the classroom manhandling complete strangers and getting intimate with plastic dummies I have once again been classed as 'competent' to be a First Aider - the certificate's in the post.
I don't know if I should be relieved to have got the assessment out of the way for another 3 years, or concerned that I'm in the same bracket as some of the other students, who I certainly wouldn't consider competent - I'd never make it as an assessor.
We concentrated on workplace accidents, so sadly none of the more 'interesting' jobs I enjoy, such as:

Still, all this practice does mean I'm set up for the London Marathon on Sunday. And I got to meet our county commissioner for the first time... as my resus assessor.
Now, I need to get sorted for my job interview on Friday, but unfortunately the charity in question has yet to update their site with the most recent annual review, and don't have an electronic version. Snail Mail and first class post to the rescue - hopefully I'll have it in my sweaty little palms before the morning of the interview at least.


Comments please

To all blog readers (all 3 of you), commentign shoudl now be possible. I have turned off the moderation that I already thought was off, and comments are no longer set to a blank email address for modding.
Comment freely!
[word verification's switched on though to prevent spam]

Monday, April 17, 2006


A delightful evening

Those of you who don't know me may not be aware that I'm a member of St. John Ambulance, and thus choose to spend my spare time wearing bizarre uniforms, alternating between total boredom and frantic periods of tending to the needs of the sick, injured, irritating and just plain abusive. And not getting paid for it, unlike others who do it for a living.

Obligatory disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are entirely my own, and are in no way representative of St. John Ambulance or any of the organisations who book St. John Ambulance to provide First Aid services

Right, disclaimer over, time to spill the beans on a particularly lovely night at a local nightclub's under-18's event. The exact purpose of these club nights is a bit vague, I don't know whether it is to create a steady stream of new customers when they turn 18, provide an alternative to trying to get into 'adult' nights, or simply get customers into the club on a sunday night when adults wouldn't be interested. If it's for the money, the profits aren't likely to be on the soft-drinks-only bars. The cloakroom does a roaring trade however, and the 2,000 tickets at up to £10 each always sell out.
Whatever the reasons for holding these events, one thing appears to be generally agreed between management, security, police and St. John members who attend: it's a hassle.

Teenagers, being teenagers, like to think they're grown up, and so some try to drink alcohol before getting into the venue.
Here for your perusal, a series of vignettes...

Customer, aggrieved "I don't understand why I'm here, I ain't done nuffink!"
Manager, calmly "The door staff believe you're intoxicated, and so we're not letting you into the club"
C "But I ain't done nothing!"
M "We believe you've been drinking"
C "But I got ready at home. My mum gave me a lift here. How would I have been drinking?"
M "You're going to have to go home. Can I have your parent's telephone number?"
C "No, I paid ten pounds for this ticket!"
M "We can do this one of two ways. Either you give me a number for one of your parents, and I call them to take you home, or I call the police"
C: "They ain't at home, they're picking me up at midnight"
M, to radio: "Karen, can you call the police for this young lady?"
C: "My mum's mobile is..."
M, smiling, to radio: "Karen, cancel that call" Switching attention to customer: "What's that number?"

This exchange is usually repeated three or four times per evening, and takes the best part of ten minutes to extract the parental number, like a dentist attacking a well-rooted tooth.

The reason we get to hear these converstaions is that the customers who are refused admission are transferred to the First Aid room and left in our care whether alcohol has made them obviously unwell or not. During the ten minutes or so it can take for club management to get round to sorting them out, delightful conversations take place, during which at all times we remain tight-lipped, professional, and try to avoid smirkign at all costs. Diagnosis: verbal diarrohea

Girl 1: "I don't even know why we've been put in here. I haven't drunk anything"
Girl 2: "I don't drink not since I got alcohol poisoning, I can't drink!"
1: "Yeah, thass right, she can't drink!"
2: "So why we been put in here?"
Johnnies: *shrug*
2: "Last time we was 'ere I pulled 52 blokes. I'm wasting valuable time in here!"
1: "She did you know"
1: "I only had a sip to drink, I'm not drunk"
2: "Do you think we're drunk? After a sip? We're not drunk"
Johnnies: "Not our decision. Just stay calm when they come to talk to you."
1: "It was only three sips, that's not going to get us drunk. I drink far more than that normally"
2: "Just a bottle of WKD"
1: "We've been drinking vodka"
2:"But we're not drunk!"

Always the same pattern... denial, admission, and then full-blow account of the full total and type of alcohol. Always useful to know if they then choose to become unwell or unconscious, or simply start vomiting, at which point we start taking interest in them as patients.
If it sounds like a south east Vicky Pollard written down, it's even worse in the flesh - with elements of Catherine Tate's Lauren [Am I bovvered?], and all wrapped in a skimpy strappy/spangly top and miniskirt combo.

The standout 'customer' of last week came in quite clearly the worse for wear, and tottering about on a pair of heels. She slao brought in a serious attitude problem with her.
The doorstaff asked her to sit down
Customer "I'm not drunk! This is me normal!"
Bouncer: "Well, if that's you normal then I suggest you see a doctor, as that is definitely not normal"
C: "I'm fine!"
B: "No you're not"
C: "I'm dyslexic!!"
B: "You may be dyslexic but you're also drunk"
We decided at this point to go out and 'get dyslexic' on a Friday night in the near future

This particular individual didn't exactly endear herself to us when within 20 minutes of this exchange she proceeded to violently throw up on the floor, and then wipe her mouth on the sleeve of my colleague's jacket. Nice. He's not leaving that within a casualty's reach again.

Oh well, all in an evening's work. None of the intoxicated minors got arrested or threatened self-harm, so that makes a change from the last one we went to.
Another duty tomorrow, just a football match, so usually predictably boring... but these things are never predictable, and that's why I like it.

All the individuals mentioned above were handed over to the care of their parents. Some may be amalgamations of several similar characters we saw that evening. This post does not represent the views of anyone except the writer.

Sunday, April 16, 2006


Bathtime for keyboard

We've all done it. That sandwich with email, the coffee with the essay... the entire lunchtime spent in the office eating a sandwich and browsing your favourite blogs. The crumbs mount up, and your keyboard starts to look grim.
[A recent development has been the proliferation of black keyboards - they don't show the dirt!]

If like me you've decided your keyboard constitutes a greater hazard to your health from the micro-organisms living within than RSI, and you're feeling adventurous, it's time to strip it down and wash it out! You could put it in the dishwasher, but I'm not that brave.

[If your disgusting keyboard is owned by someone else - i.e. it's an office computer and you're not self-employed, I would advocate some form of hot-beverage-based sabotage, and requesting a shiny new replacement from IT. Don't tell them I told you to do it though]

  1. Unscrew your keyboard. There will be a number of screws on the back, mine has the unholy total of sixteen - why it needs this many I have no idea
  2. Prise the two halves apart and you should have a base with lots of rubbery buttons, and a top half with keys rattling about in it
  3. Either soak this in hot soapy water, and wipe with a washing up sponge, or start popping the keys out into a sink filled with hot water with a dash of washing up liquid
  4. Dry the keys off, and leave overnight spread out on a towel. Look out for little bits of wire under some of the larger keys, and note how they fit into the keyboard
  5. This is my method - you may wish to proceed differently from hereon, there are some faults in my method:
  6. Once dry, start fitting keys back into the keyboard.
  7. Realise you only have a shaky understanding of where all the keys go. Sheepishly refer to someone else's keyboard for guidance.
  8. Proudly connect your now-gleaming keyboard to your PC and boot up
  9. Realise you've put some keys in the wrong places when you can't type in your windows password
  10. Remove all those screws and prise the keyboard open
  11. Check the position of all the keys, and realise that the top row should read 'QWERTYUIOP', not 'QWERTYIUOP'
  12. Re-arrange keys, turn keyboard over and spray screws all over the floor
  13. Find most of the screws, and spend some time searching for the remaining single fugitive screw
  14. Be embarrassed by your younger sibling being able to find the screw without any trouble in the running shoe you already looked in
  15. Blog about the entire experience, and then discover a new keyboard can be had for less than the price of a pint of beer
DISCLAIMER: If, like me, you decide to take your keyboard apart, you are, like me, quite stupid. If you persist in this though, bear in mind that with drying and re-assembly time, you're looking at about 24 hours where you can't use your PC.

Friday, April 14, 2006


Dangers of being a [fake] ninja

Recently I was pondering the many advantages of pursuing a career as a ninja. However I'm a bit concerned as dressing up as ninja can get you in trouble, it would appear [link via BoingBoing]
Just for the record, while I may have pointed out the advantages of being a silent assassin, I do not actually pose a silent but deadly threat to society as I am not, nor have I ever been a ninja.
True ninjas are undetectctable, and capable of answering any question. The student in this incident has an excellent taste in fancy dress, but is no true ninja - he got caught.

For anyone in America who may have difficulty understanding this, please can I add, to clarify:

"Don't shoot me!"


Long legs... or not

Went into Zara today to investigate their men's clothing. I'd been told that they were good for smaller sized trousers.
"How small do your trousers go?" I asked
"30 inch waist"
"And the legs?"
"34 inch"
"The shortest leg?"
"34 inch"
Me: "What?!? That means you won't have any customers under about 6 foot 4!"

The shop wasn't full of tall lean customers, actually, there were very few men in there at all. For comparison, the two female sales advisors I spoke to can't hve been more than 5'4" and 5'0" each. I really do wonder how long the shop can continue this policy without going bust.
There's a definite lack of trousers for short skinny men - if you're shaped like an egg, and only slightly taller than one, you're spoilt for choice.

Hmmm, I smell a business opportunity - there are shops for "the larger man" so why not "the smaller man"?
Therefore, I am announcing that I will soon be opening

Miller & Co. Pygmy Outfitters

Maybe the name needs some work.

Thursday, April 13, 2006


A good day?

I would think so:
1. Working at the theatre, so I will get money. Money is good if you like stuff.
2. Got a call about a job interview, so finally making some progress on that front
3. Had my suspicions about an increase in my theatre pay rate going up confirmed - and when I did the maths, it's about 7.7% - result!

Notes to self
Must post soon about the highly entertaining evening I recently spent in the company of a procession of underage drinkers
Must stop posting emails to the national St. John members list that get ignored

Tuesday, April 11, 2006


It's the little things that amuse me...

512MB MP3 Player: £13.74
Sennheiser earphones to replace the ones that came with the player: £9.99
Seeing the display of this fine piece of Chinese electronic engineering telling me I was listening to Moby's classic tack "Love of String": Priceless

Tuesday, April 04, 2006


Another day, another minibus

Just spotted going past the office window:

"Fahren Wide"

Is WC1 the badly-titled minibus capital of the world?


Punnage most foul

Spotted on the side of a minibus:

Get it? Most of my family didn't.
Shortly afterwards though, I spotted on a courier's moped 'Deliverance' Sadly the company logo wasn't a banjo

Today, the wireless is behaving itself... but for how long?

Monday, April 03, 2006


Wireless networking

Why won't you *SLAP* work *SLAP* reliably??
Or at least *SLAP* consistently?
No connection one minute, reboot and we're playing Happy Home Networking with full internet access?!

Felt good to get that out of the system *SLAP!*

Suggestions my router doesn't work correctly because I keep slapping it are completely unfounded

Saturday, April 01, 2006


Maybe a career as a ninja would suit me...

Ninjas have great job security unless they are killed by other ninjas, there's a plentiful supply of assassinations so you're always in work and the pension benefits are excellent.
Also because you are a completley undetectable ninja, the tax man cannot catch you, because no-one catches a ninja.
And the uniform's provided - black's very slimming


Looking for loving... or looking for regular employment?

Not exactly regular posting, but it's still a shorter gap between postings than before.
Life goes on in much the same way. Looking for jobs, looking for love, very similar process in the internet age:
  1. Select the website you think will bring the best results, and will have the kind of thing you're looking for. To hedge your bets, you probably want to sign up with more than one.
  2. Register with the site(s) and set up a profile detailing your key attractive attributes which might make someone interested in you. Any unpleasant habits, or anything dodgy in your past is probably best left out at this stage - they'll find out about it once they get to know you, or alternatively, they need never know...
  3. Having described yourself, describe what you are ideally looking for. This particular combination of attributes is unlikely to exist anywhere, but you can compromise, and beggars can't be choosers - there must be a reason you've been driven to these sites
  4. Having done this and uploaded files as appropriate, have a scout around the site to see what's available. Some of the options on offer may seem attractive at first, but on closer inspection they may have fatal flaws that render them unsuitable
  5. Construct a search for what you're looking for. Usually this will throw up no results on the first attempt. Lower your expectations until finally some options start to appear.
  6. Periodically, as new opportunities arise on the site, you will be sent an email when the magic thinking of the computers decides you are compatible. Quite often the computer will get it wrong, but at least they're trying.
  7. Whilst searching in cyberspace, don't give up on more conventional methods. Keep an eye out for opportunities wherever you go, you never know, you might be lucky.
  8. If you like the look of a prospect, you can contact them, and now the stress begins. If they like the look of you, they'll arrange to set up a meeting where you will have to explain why you are the ideal candidate for the position on offer. This may not be successful - they'll probably be considering other people as well as you. Don't let this get you down, just keep on looking for the next potential opportunity.
  9. If your meeting goes well, you may get a follow-up contact, and they may wish for you to get involved with them on a regular basis. Consider this a success, and unless you know of a better offer, you should probably take it up.
  10. Remember it is generally considered good manners from this point forward not to go looking elsewhere for opportunities, particularly when you are actually with the one you are currently engaged with. If you're particularly attractive, you may find that others come looking for you, and try to charm you away from your current position. Be certain that their offer really is a great improvement over your current situation, as you usually can't go back once you do decide to take up their offer
  11. Some of the joy may go out of the relationship, this is known as 'the end of the honeymoon', and is quite normal
  12. From hereon, things can go one of two ways.
If you break the generally accepted terms of your position, you will usually be swiftly relieved of your responsibilities. The divorce rate is higher than it's ever been, and very few people stay in a job for over 10 years as they used to.

[Currently I'm stuck at stage 7.]

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